Nakusp’s mayor Karen Hamling. (File)

Nakusp council agrees to tax exemption

Nakusp council has voted 2-1 to exempt elements of the Arrowtarian Villas of municipal taxes of $3,478.

Nakusp council has voted 2-1 with one abstention to exempt Phases I, II, and III of the Arrowtarian Villas of municipal taxes amounting to $3,478.

The exemption hits the ceiling on the village’s tax exemption policy maximum quota of permissive tax exemptions allowed of 2.5 per cent.

At the last council meeting on Aug. 28, a delegation of stakeholders including tenant Shirley Wyatt, director Kathy Bone, and Arrowtarian complex manager Trish Cannon petitioned council for a tax exemption for the Arrowtarian Senior Citizens Society.

The Arrowtarian Senior Citizens Society were exempt of tax in 2016 but did not apply for 2017. Based on the 2017 taxes, the requested estimated tax exemption for 2018 was $1,370 for Phase I and II, $2,108 for Phase III, and $4,169 for Phase IV, for a total of $7,647, of which 75 per cent is the municipal levy of $5,735.25.

Section 224 of the Community Charter allows permission tax exemption consideration for charitable, philanthropic, athletic, service clubs, or other not-for-profit groups.

The requested amount would have put the total exemptions at 2.76 per cent of the village’s budget, so a number of options were put forward to council for the vote: deny the request altogether, allow a partial tax exemption for a limited time of one year, or raise the tax exemption ceiling, at their discretion.

Coun. Mueller moved the second option, providing for a one-year tax exemption for Phases I, II, and III, which enabled council to give the Arrowtarian Senior Citizens Society a tax break, without breaking the maximum set out in policy P9.

For the discussion, Mayor Karen Hamling stated, “this is a real conundrum. Giving a tax break to these folks means raising the taxes on other folks within the town limits. I know I can afford the tax increase but there are other seniors in town on limited budgets that we need to consider.”

Coun. Zeleznik added, “This is a tough one.”

The rest of council nodded in approval, with Coun. Mueller exclaiming “I struggle with this one.”

The mayor continued, “this is a difficult decision. We want to support the low-income housing but there are others who don’t have the money to afford the tax increase.”

Coun. Heppner seconded Coun. Mueller’s proposal. Coun. Tobey was excused from the vote due to his affiliation with the Nakusp Rotary Club. Coun. Zeleznik voted against the motion so moved.

On Sep. 8, 2014, Council adopted “Permission tax exemption bylaw No. 652, 2014” grant to six organizations (the Royal Canadian Legion, the Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services Association, the Nakusp Launch Club, the Halcyon Assisted Living Society, the Nakusp Childcare Society, and the Arrow Lakes Hospital Auxiliary) permissive tax exemptions for the tax years 2015 to 2019. Based on the 2017 taxes, the estimated 2018 tax exemption for those six organizations is $16,420.

Indefinite exemptions are provided to six community church groups in town per Bylaw No. 570, 2002. Based on the 2017 taxes, the estimated 2018 tax exemption for them is $6,182 and it related to the portion of a church’s building and property not automatically exempted by statute, based on the footprint of the building used for public worship.

At the end of the meeting, the delegation from Arrowtarian that had come out to witness the vote declared themselves reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the vote.

“At least we got something,” stated Trish Cannon.

Based on Sarah Holden’s extensive survey undertaken this summer to determine the correct zoning for a large swath of Nakusp properties in the Alluvial Fan/North Kuskanax and the South Nakusp/Rothwell Point areas, a re-zoning bylaw was put forward to council at the last two meetings. The new bylaw 612-08 is under reading consideration, with a public consultation to take place on Oct. 23, 2017 at a location to be confirmed before that time.

Also at the last meeting, a new bylaw was brought forward for Council’s consideration, to provide for the appointment of a deputy to act in place of the Chief Administration Officer in their absence.

The full-time Chief Financial Officer position is being replaced with a Treasurer position, so the responsibilities are shifted under the CAO’s portfolio.

Some of the councillors were not ready to vote on it at that time but Coun. Zeleznik thanked the CAO for listening to his concerns in the meantime and declared himself happy with the outcome.

A vote was passed at Monday’s meeting to advance the new bylaw for reading consideration.