Council puts a cap on tax exemptions

Council has approved 14 resolutions that help clarify the way they manage their assets and finances.

After many hours spent in a closed Financial Standing Committee meeting, council has approved 14 resolutions that help clarify the way they manage their assets and finances.

First on the list was to put a cap on the Town’s Permissive Tax Exemption Policy. The policy allows for local not-for-profits, such as the Golden Food Bank or the Legion, to get an exemption on their property taxes. Previously there was no cap on the amount of exemptions the Town would permit. Now the cap has been set at 1.25 per cent of the total 2013 taxation revenue.

They also resolved that “in the context of its corporate asset management policy and associated objectives, asset renewal shall generally supersede asset creation.”

In other words, council has put in writing that maintaining the Town’s current assets will generally take priority over generating any new assets.

“It’s an acknowledgement that we’re leaning away from embracing taking on new assets,” said Mayor Christina Benty.

All resolutions were passed unanimously, except for two that dealt with borrowing.

Council decided that they would consider borrowing for asset management purposes; that it was a “valid tool” for the maintenance and renewal of the municipality’s assets under its proactive asset management policy

They also decided that they would consider borrowing for the purpose of attaining funding for projects under application for federal infrastructure funding in 2014.

Coun. Keith Hern was opposed to both resolutions, stating that “(He does) not believe that borrowing is appropriate.”

Particularly borrowing for the purposes of getting federal infrastructure funding he believes to be inappropriate. Hern says there is funding available, it would just be at a lower level, which means that projects would need to be scaled back.