Delegate suggests City of Terrace ease business tax

The Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce makes its case as budget season progresses

Give business a break, council hears

If the city is going to raise taxes at all this year, then residential homeowners should shoulder more of the increase than businesses.

This was the message from Rich Toomey on behalf of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce at last night’s regular council meeting.

“Based on assessed values, for every dollar a residential taxpayer pays, a business pays $4.73,” said Toomey. “We believe this ratio is too high.”

“Our request is simple,” he continued. “During the budget process, remember that the city needs a healthy, vibrant business community for many reasons.”

The city has been aiming in its provisional budget for a zero tax rate increase to provide some relief for property owners who have seen their assessments soar approximately 30 per cent this year.

However, the chamber’s letter to council notes pressures that may make a tax rate increase necessary after all, and Toomey presented a scenario where a small increase to the residential tax rate would bring down those of businesses towards what he sees as a more equitable ratio.

Currently the business to residential tax ratio is second highest in the province, he added.

“If it should prove necessary to raise tax rates, the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce would like to remind council and administration that Terrace currently has the second highest business to residential tax ratio in the province,” said the letter from the chamber.

Housing action plan

Council also reviewed the new Housing Action Plan submitted by the city’s housing committee.

The plan lays a foundation for a number of policies that will enhance Terrace’s housing stock, including rehabilitating current housing, densification planning, and promoting temporary lodging such as a hostel.

Director of Development Services David Block also said that an affordable housing plan first hatched by former executive director of the Ksan Housing Society, Carol Sabo, is still being pursued by the non-profit for a patch of city land on Haugland at the corner of Hall in the southside neighbourhood of Terrace.

Block said the original plan will be modified and that he will be helping Ksan apply for seed money through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The plan was completed as part of the Northwest Readiness Project, a provincially-funded government program.

Social Media Presence

The city has drawn up a new template for helping it engage the community through social and other media.

Staff presented the updated policy to council, highlighting their desire to continue mastering Twitter and Facebook.

Done with the help of the Northern Development Initiative Trust, the new strategies include a more focussed emphasis on when to draft press releases to distribute to local media.