City council awards permissive tax exemptions to several local non-profit community groups

Council approved more than $898,000 in tax exemptions to 74 community groups at Tuesday evening’s council meeting

Council approved more than $898,000 in tax exemptions to 74 community groups at Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

Barry Watchorn, chair of the city’s Community Partnership Committee which reviews  the exemption applications, said that “providing non-profit organizations with permissive tax exemptions offers support to these community groups.”

Groups such as the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living, Campbell River and District Museum and Archives, the North Island Transition Society, the food bank, the Head Injury Support Society, a variety of sports clubs, and church groups were all recipients of tax exemptions for 2015.

The city also gave out tax breaks to five new applicants.

The Willow Point Supportive Living Society was awarded an exemption worth $1,359 made up of $743 in city taxes and $615 in taxes collected by other taxing authorities such as the school district, hospital district and regional district.

The society, which provides affordable housing to lower income seniors, applied for the tax exemption on a recently purchased patio home.

The BCSPCA was given a $1,369 tax break and Volunteer Campbell River was awarded a $448 permissive tax exemption on its new space in the Enterprise Centre.

Opportunities Career Services Society, which provides social and employment services, and training to multi-barriered clientele unlikely to find employment, was given a $6,693 tax exemption while the Eagles Water Ski Club was granted a $970 tax exemption.

Two organizations – the Discovery Harbour Authority and the Communitias Supportive Care Society applied for tax exemptions but were denied by council.

Watchorn said Discovery Harbour Authority, which operates the Discovery Harbour boat launch, said it did not meet the criteria for a tax break.

“The northern portion of the marina falls under the jurisdiction of DFO while the boat launch and parking lot is owned by Discovery Harbour Holdings Ltd. which is controlled by the Campbell River Indian Band,” Watchorn wrote in a report to council. “The committee agreed that the application did not satisfy council’s permissive tax exemption policy because the Discovery Harbour Authority does not fall under the category of a non-profit community organization.”

Communitias Supportive Care Society provides support for people living with developmental disabilities, mental health issues and acquired brain injuries but was denied a tax break because of its financial status.

“The committee…noted that the organization’s operating budget is very large in comparison to the requested ($9,670) tax exemption,” Watchorn wrote. “The organization has alternate sources of funding and its financial statements indicate an operating surplus.”

While council was pleased to approve several permissive tax exemptions for 2015, at the same time it referred its policy on tax breaks to the Community Partnership Committee for a full review in 2015.

The review  is expected to address provincial downloading and to consider implementing a permissive tax exemption cap similar to the city’s grant-in-aid program.