CONTRIBUTION · 1st March 2013
The recent latest controversy over the construction camp in town has dragged me off the couch to write my thoughts.
Many of you are wondering why council would even consider the idea of this construction camp in Strawberry Meadows, given the amount of empty townhouses, trailer parks and other run down empty rental accommodation available in our town.
And please I do not consider the Kitimat Hotel in this category; I give kudos to the owners for what they have accomplished with their resources. One of the first things done was update the exterior of this former eyesore.
The answer is our council is running the town like a business; the revenue for this business is taxes.
Taxes on property increase when you build something on it. So there is no incentive for the District of Kitimat to encourage renovation of existing empty residential rental accommodation.
Have a look at your tax notice if you have last years notice or when we get this years. There is a portion for the physical land and a portion for the buildings on that property.
Council is in the business of increasing revenue, empty rundown buildings are taxed the same (well almost) as an occupied building. It is against the business plan to lose revenue, so more buildings please.
One would think the derelict buildings in Nechako Center and around Kitimat would have been ordered by council to be demolished as dangerous eyesores long ago, but there is less revenue from bare land so it won’t happen.
Those of you fighting for “beautification” should just meet at Timmies and put your energy elsewhere, how about Relay for Life?
Our Federal income tax structure actually encourages wealthy owners to keep units empty for tax deduction purposes. A shell company is formed, they “lose money” for a few years, then sell to another group at a loss and claim that too!
Council should put their thoughts to incentives that make it more attractive for landlords to have clean, safe, affordable rental accommodation than an income tax break.
Has council directed District Staff to contact Revenue Canada and give them information on the condition of these rundown properties and ask why given the current low vacancy rate are they allowing these owners to leave the units empty and claim these rental properties are being run as a legitimate money making businesses?
How about considering a scaled Property tax reduction on the building improvement portion of the property taxes for every unit renovated and rented 50% of the time in one year, I leave it to council to decide on the amount.
Families in rental accommodation need to shop at grocery stores, eat at restaurants and buy all manners of consumable goods. New businesses pay Municipal taxes that would offset any short term loss. Does anyone remember the Mall full of shoppers, waiting in long lines at checkouts ? I do.
Single people in a small cramped 6ft x 12ft space, who have 3 catered meals down the hall and head home once their rotation is up, will spend nothing in town.
Until the residents of Kitimat say to our Council, Stop! We want this town run for the interests of its residents and not as a business we will face more of these lame brained schemes to gather more tax dollars to support the business of “Kitimat” and not the residents of the town I have lived in for 30 + yrs.
I think all of us would pay the few extra dollars on our taxes to be able to be proud of our neighbourhood and not have to make excuses for our urban blight to visitors.
Another option for Council is....
Comment by Larry Walker on 2nd March 2013
Just a thought, but why not tax owner occupied residental property at one level and non owner occupied rental property at a much higher rate of tax (similar to a business).
This way there would be no incentive for the owner of rental property to just sit on it and let it become an eye sore.
ps..you would also have to ensure that the owner does not just put one property in his/her partners name and claim both as owner occupied residential properties (which is illegal anyways and Revenue Canada would be "all over them" for taxes.
Comment by Hard Core on 2nd March 2013
Enough is Enough,let it go to a refurendum.Let the tax papers decided.Lets have a good old vote on it.