Board of Trade submits two proposals

Free camping and tax breaks on building upgrades were on the Christmas wish list for the Greenwood Board of Trade.

Greenwood Council was in no hurry to rush into anything at their Dec. 9 meeting. Most of the agenda items under “correspondence for action” and “new and unfinished business” went unresolved—referred to staff for more information for the most-part.

The Greenwood Board of Trade (BOT) sent a letter with two requests, both of which were referred to staff for more information.

The first suggestion was that camping be free in the city campground for a maximum of three days stay and that signage be provided in the area informing campers of local businesses where full-service hookup is available.

Council directed staff to contact those motels involved and seek out their questions and concerns about the proposal.

The second BOT request was for the municipality to establish bylaw to allow for a downtown revitalization tax exemption program as outlined in section 226 of the Community Charter, which would encourage the development of properties within defined areas of the municipality.

To receive tax relief under the program eligible property owners would make application to have the value of improvements to their properties removed from their assessed values for a period of time (often five years).

At the end of that five years the assessed value can either be adjusted to the full value of the property immediately or it could be phased in over a period of years (i.e. 20 per cent a year for five years).

Revitalization tax bylaws typically cover commercial properties and are meant to encourage investment in the community. For this reason Mayor Nipper Kettle, who owns a commercial building, excused himself from council chambers during the discussion.

Council passed a motion directing staff to research revitalization bylaws used in other municipalities and to consult with council in regards to the terms and conditions that should apply to the bylaw. Several options still need to be decided, including the duration of the tax relief, what area of the city would be included, what type of expenses would be covered, etc.

According to a memo circulated to council by Administrator Robin Dalziel, the discussion should continue at the next council meeting with a draft bylaw available shortly thereafter.

The BOT letter explained their feeling that both of these proposals will encourage visitors to stay and support local businesses. The revitalization tax exemption will encourage current and future businesses to upgrade and start new businesses.

“We would like to point out that neither proposal will have a cost impact to taxpayers,” wrote BOT president Jim Nathorst. “In fact, the revitalization tax exemptions will provide a net increase in tax revenue to the city at completion of the five-year program for those that participate.”

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The Economic Development Committee has tasked city council with the lead on development of the A-frame just south of the museum into a public washroom. Other ideas coming out of the economic development group for the area is the installation of a hand pump for Greenwood Gold water, concrete pad and picnic table(s) for tourists to use.

Council passed a motion to have staff evaluate the building and see what is needed and define the costs associated with the proposal.

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In other business, council approved sponsorship of the residential light up contest and amended the Christmas certificate program by removing council members from the list of those receiving a certificate.

The City of Greenwood will issue a $30 cheque as a Christmas certificate in lieu of providing a turkey. These cheques will be issued to current employees of the City of Greenwood (does not include summer staff), and current members of the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department

Even though a person could be a member of more than one of the groups listed above, that person will be entitled to a single bonus cheque of $30. Those attending the staff party will not receive a cheque, but the party will take the place of the Christmas certificate.

The City of Greenwood will also issue a $30 cheque to the Community Christmas Dinner Fund and the Kettle River Lions Club Christmas Hamper Campaign.

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City Hall will be open for half a day on Dec. 24 and 31. The office is open full days on Dec. 27 and 30. The next Greenwood Council meeting will be Jan. 13, 2014.