March 30, 2012
An open letter to:
Mayor and Council
City of Terrace
Dear Mayor and Council:
RE: 2012 Business Tax Decision
The Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce appreciates being able to provide our perspective on business taxes to the Mayor and Council, as well as, the time you took in considering our recommendations. Having that dialogue is an important part of the process to ensure different perspectives are given due consideration.
Of note at the March 26 council meeting, Councilor Downie sought further discussion on tax rates in an effort to find some middle ground but there was no appetite to assist beleaguered businesses on the part of the rest of council.
The Chamber was heartened however by the proposed Airport Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw wherein the increase in assessed value from improvements of $250,000 or more is not taxed for 3 years. This is an innovative way for the City to encourage new investment in Terrace and we were encouraged by Councilor Bidgood’s supportive comments regarding making the bylaw city wide.
The Chamber believes a thoughtful and strategic tax plan is required for Terrace to maintain and grow a healthy and vibrant business community. Our concern is that an innovative approach maybe countered by tax rates for retail and commercial businesses that are already the 4th and 5th highest in the province. Currently, a business (or retail) zoned property would pay 4 times and a commercially zoned property 8 times as much as a resident, for the same assessed value.
When we look externally, to our neighbour, Thornhill, the contrast is stark. By way of example, if Councilor Cordeiro’s business in Thornhill was located in Terrace, the tax bill applicable to the property would be roughly double. And if it were commercially zoned, it would double again. This is not a factor we find encouraging for small business investment within Terrace city limits.
We will continue to engage the City on this matter and will look forward to those discussions. After all, we both want the same thing…a growing and vibrant business community that will benefit us all, not only from a tax revenue perspective but also in employment, quality of life, and especially, opportunities for our children.
1st Vice President
Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce