Council passed the first three readings for the bylaw that authorizes property tax exemptions for the 2015 taxation year. The value of the municipal property taxes exempted in 2014 was $219,419, while the 2015 value is estimated to be $205,297.
The exemptions for not for profit organizations in 2014 were $179,368, while in 2015 they are projected at 168,535. Exemptions for churches and private schools was $40,051 in 2014 and is estimated at $36,762 in 2015.
“There were seven new tax exemptions that were presented to council by approving this bylaw,” Mayor Wayne Stetski explained at the Oct. 6 council meeting.
The Cranbrook Community Theatre Society, the Ktunaxa Nation council Society requests which are in existing properties owned by the city were approved. There were three requests, one from the Ktunaxa Nation Council Society, one from the Red Cross Health Equipment Depot and one from the Community Connections Society.
“The suggestions is rather than give them tax exemptions at this point, they be invited to apply for a grant from our grants to organizations program,” he said. “Although the window has closed for that, exception will be made for these three groups to apply, as do many other groups for a grant to cover their taxes.”
City staff did recommend that two requests be denied—the Cranbrook Masonic Temple Association and Key City Gymnastics for tax exemptions.
Stetski said the rationale for the denial to the gymnastics clubs is that there are many clubs in Cranbrook associated with a variety of sports, so to give one to that club but not the others wouldn’t be fair.
The comparison of the 2014 and 2015 years includes a $14,122 reduction which the city noted is made up of a number of different exemptions that won’t carry over, such as an elimination of the exemption on the Women’s Resource Centre, which is now for sale, and the Cranbrook Lions Senior Citizens Housing Society, which won’t be applying for the 2015 exemption. These two cases together amount to a projected decrease of $18,866 in exemptions. That is supplemented by a new application for $2,750 for the Studio/Stage Door building and an estimated increase in municipal tax rate for 2015 and changes in property value.
There is also a move to a statutory exemption for the New Apostolic Church Canada which amounts to a decrease of $4,360 in exemptions.
Statutory tax exemptions are properties that are automatically exempt, such as those owned by the province, hospitals, churches and private schools.