Penticton Sikh Temple

 

Faced with a growing list of non-profits that have traditionally had their property taxes waived, the City of Penticton is now considering having them chip in – just a little.

A staff report going in front of council Tuesday suggests granting churches, service groups and other such organizations just 94.35% of their requested tax waivers, leaving them to pay the remaining 5.65%

For example, the Penticton United Church at 696 Main St. would have to come up with $200 to top off a $3,348 exemption for 2020. And the Penticton Sikh Temple at 3290 South Main St. would have to find $330 to add to its $5,836 waiver.

(The ground under churches, schools and hospitals is automatically granted a 100% tax waiver by the B.C. government. Attached lands, such as parking lots, are subject to property taxes that can be waived by municipal governments.)

The 5.65% cut is required to bring the total of all permissive tax exemptions to 1.68% of total projected property tax revenue, as required by a policy update approved by council in April. Council chose 1.68% to match this year’s ratio.

Revenue supervisor Amber Coates explains in her report to council the 1.68% cap was also established “to provide suggested funding limits as well as parameters to allow council to more directly provide assistance to organizations that compliment council priorities for the city as a whole if they so choose.”

The total $591,000 requested for 2020 is up from $531,000 for 2019. There are three new applicants for 2020: an affordable housing project on Backstreet Boulevard, a daycare on Birch Avenue and a two-bedroom apartment used as a transition house for women. However, two other properties, the old Legion on Martin Street and the former Victory Church, will be coming off.

All told, the city has been asked for $591,000 worth of tax exemptions for 2020, but with the cut would approve just $557,000.

In other business, council will hear requests to: reconsider its rejection of a proposed Starbuds cannabis shop; proclaim Oct. 19-26 as Beer Week in Penticton; seek status as an age-friendly community; and approve a Good Neighbour Bylaw enforcement policy.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. in council chambers and is open to the public.