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REPORTING · 2nd May 2012
Walter McFarlane
The Financial Plan Bylaw for 2012 came up at the April 16th meeting of Kitimat City Council. Due to a ‘time crunch’ on getting the budget out, three readings were recommended. Councillor Corrine Scott wanted to give it first reading because she had a few problems with the bylaws.

Scott provided several grammatical suggestions and fixing minor errors in the document. However, one section of the document related to the perceived disadvantages of living in remote coastal community in the north.

“Everything at the end of that sentence: ‘Supporting services and businesses to offset a perceived disadvantages to employee recruitment and retention of the communities remote location’ is absolutely the opposite of what we’re trying to do. I would like to see the whole portion of the sentence removed. It is negative and it does not reflect what we are trying to promote in Kitimat” said Scott.

She stated Kitimat was not remote. She similarly wanted similar items which relate to the disadvantage of living in a northern climate stricken from the document as well.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated he had a problem with the Permissive Tax Exemption Motion made at a prior meeting because one of the documents in the Financial Plan state opposition to such an idea. Scott agreed.

Feldhoff stated one reading was appropriate and he looked forward to the administrations comments on the changes in 2nd reading because ‘a lot of blood had been spilled’ to write this part of the document in prior years.

“It had to do with the nature of our industrial community and why, I think in the past, industry was looked at to contribute a fairly large portion of the taxes,” said Feldhoff.

First reading was called and carried. Scott provided administration with her suggested changes.

Kitimat City Council moved the second and third reading of the financial bylaw at the April 23rd Committee of the Whole Meeting. Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to clarify the amendments which had been made to the motion, a date error and a word which was in the wrong place.

Councillor Corrine Scott still wanted to change the wording away from the perceived disadvantages to living in Northern British Columbia.

“It is a perception, not a reality. On the other hand, considered perception is 9 / 10ths of reality. Again, we’re referring to the communities remote location and Kitimat is not remote. It is just not remote,” said Scott.

She stated we have airplane services three quarters of an hour away and there are communities which are more remote then Kitimat. She stated we are not currently in the remote location with a wet climate. We could have been there in the past but the statement does not reflect 2012.

Scott pointed to a statement saying the District of Kitimat has analyzed the arguments on how the location prevents industry from retaining workers but the current Council has not discussed this.

Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed he wanted to look at perception. He expressed Scott perceived the reference to be stricken because it shows the community as not a desirable place to live. However, he pointed out the concept was for the acquiring and retention of trained workers in the industry and other areas around the town.

“It is a perception that we are remote and this isn’t a first choice but the south is. If it is only directed to professionals and trained workers, then it is true. The point you are making is an ordinary person wanting to come here, like a retiree or a person with a family, there are more then enough positive attributes that will overcome that perception,” said Goffinet.

Scott replied the Council are the leaders of the community and if they perpetuate the myth which Kitimat was remote and not a nice place to live, people would follow what they are portraying and it would become the feeling within the community.

“Whatever we’re portraying as a Mayor and Council is what gets out into the media and we need to be positive on what we have to offer because otherwise, it keeps on rolling along that it’s not a good place to live. Anything that’s negative gets blown out of proportion,” said Scott.

She said there were two new doctors coming to the community. Her doctor picked Kitimat because of the location and did not want to be in the huge hub of the lower Vancouver Area and wanted to be in the outdoors.

She pointed out It rains in Kitimat and it snows in Kitimat. It rains down the coast of BC and snows across northern Canada. Kitimat is located in a rainforest, which is not a horrible situation, it is weather.

Feldhoff thought the wording changes were quite substantial to be coming in at the eleventh hour, fifty-ninth minute. He expressed he wanted to give further thought for this for next year and there were reasons why they used the language in the past.

He stated they did not want to go down the same road as Quesnal who gave a ten year tax holiday to a sawmill. He would give thought to changing the wording next year and was not ready to support some of the suggestions.

Scott replied she could understand. However, it was brought up at the Council Meeting on the 16th as well.

Steve Christianson, the community treasurer stated if they want to add tax exemption for revitalization for the future, they would want to word this part differently and he showed the Council how he had foreshadowed this in the report. Feldhoff expressed this meant the door was not closed.

Councillor Phil Germuth asked if they passed this, they could go back to the revitalization and review it and change it when they wanted to, but it would probably apply to next years taxes.

Municipal Manager Ron Poole stated he wished this had come up at the Committee of the Whole Meeting where they discussed this. It should have been done a month ago. This document has nothing to do with community promotion. This relates to why they set their budgets and rates, why they put money into roads and why they are justified. He suggested if the changes are important, then they should look into them for next year.

The amendments, just the two corrections made by the treasurer, were called and carried. The taxation bylaw was read once and considered read three times. Called and carried.

Final adoption is set for May 7th.
Tax Exemption
Comment by Dan J on 2nd May 2012
*Eurocan and methanex are prime examples of taxation. When taxes are to high, and lumber or gas prices decline, corporate investors realize that the cost of doing business is not worth there investors capital risk...
Tax Exemption
Comment by Dan J on 2nd May 2012
Tax Exemption

Will attract foreign investment, and Kitimat will be considered a great place to do buisness, due to no taxes E.G. Alberta

If a 5 year, no tax break was set in place, Industrial corporations will be able to break even upon the construction phase. Once there operations are running and they are generating a revenue on this tax relief, only then shall minimal taxes be applied.

Corporations are always looking to sponsor the community, prime example Rio Tinto Alcan, Suncor, Albian Sands, Syncrude (Fort Mcmurray).

With a 5 year no tax break, commercial business will start to open, which means more goods and services for the citizens of the this community.
No tax exemption!!!!!
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 2nd May 2012
Could Councilor Scott,explain to the people of Kitimat, what type of business would need a tax exemption to survive. Mom and Pop businesses don't need tax exemptions cause they usually work out of their houses.Other businesses will open in the mall ,they may need a rent exemption if anything to survive ,so this counts then out. You are entering a slippery slope when you start giving business exemptions . RTA willcome calling as they have in the past on how their taxes are too high,just that this time they will have an excuse that you have enticed a new business in to town with tax incentives. Does Apache or shell need a tax incentive? I highly doubt it ,they can trim a million dollars off their CEO's salary if they want to save money,instead of you and I having to make up the difference with increased homeowner property taxes. Councilor Scott we have enough problems with the conservatives and liberals wanting to give businesses tax cuts we dont need our city council to join the band wagon. I look forward to a response