The City of Calgary will likely extend a program which offers tax relief for non-residential properties outside the core caused by downtown office vacancies.
It’s in an effort to combat sky rocketing tax increases caused by the shifting tax base.
But, this is the last year it will be able to afford to do so.
The Priorities and Finance Committee is expected to approve $41 million in relief Tuesday which would benefit close to 7,500 non-residential accounts.
Councillor Ward Sutherland, who is on the committee, hopes to avoid some of the problems with the program they experienced last year.
“We had allotted over $40 million for relief and approximately about $26 to $30 million has only been paid out,” he said, adding there was a lot of confusion about how the program worked.
The bottom line is if a business’ assessment is higher than a five per cent increase, that business shouldn’t appeal or it won’t get the rebate until after the appeal process is finished.
“We have to come up with a better solution,” stressed Sutherland. “So that conversation for the long term has to occur because, yes, we can’t afford to do this on a regular basis.”
As for what that long term solution will look like, it’s anyone’s guess at this point but the discussion is expected to take six to eight months.