A BYLAW to tax downtown businesses for another five years to finance the Terrace Downtown Improvement Association won’t be going ahead, at least for now.
The association asked council last night to defeat the bylaw, which would have come into effect as of January, pending more explanation with downtown property owners as to how the money will be spent.
A bylaw now ending brought the association $60,000 a year but the prospect of increasing the taxation levy to $120,000 a year, and extending the association’s boundaries, was opposed by property owners who said the association needed to better explain itself.
That resulted in a meeting between the association and property owners last week leading to last night’s request.
“We really realized that we need to do more consultation so we will put together a plan over the next two months and we plan to come back on February 27 with a new plan and a new bylaw,” association president Sasa Loggin told council last night.
Complicating matters was the nature of the bylaw itself which had been progressing under what’s called the alternate approval process.
In this instance property owners were sent notices of the proposed bylaw by the city at the request of the association with a deadline date of Dec. 17 to submit their approval or opposition.
At least 50 per cent of the property owners having an assessed value of at least 50 per cent of the properties within the association’s taxation boundaries was required for council to approve of the bylaw.
Not replying at all is considered a ‘yes’ vote, something which further complicated the situation.
The most important thing for the association is to work together and it is gaining more interest from its membership and is channelling that interest into building a plan for the next five years, Loggin added.
“The message was really clear that we have to step up our communication and that is what we will work on,” said Loggin.
She thanked city councillor Sean Bujtas, who is council’s representative to the association, and city staffers Alisa Thompson and David Block for helping the association understand how the bylaw process works.
Loggin also thanked those who came out to last week’s information meeting for a session she described as “very informative and frank.”
The association had wanted a budget of $120,000 a year so that it could hire a full time executive director and increase its efforts to bring more activity to the downtown core of the city.
Two of its major annual events are a street festival held during Riverboat Days and a festival of lights held each December.