LETTER – Comox mayor addresses recent letters regarding tax exemptions

Letter to the editor

Dear editor,

Re: Tax Exemptions in the Town of Comox

I am writing to address recent comments about tax exemptions in the town of Comox as it relates to the 1700 Balmoral property.

RELATED: Instead of raising taxes, Comox should stop handing out tax exemptions

Local governments have the authority to exempt eligible properties from property tax for a specified period, by bylaw; however 1700 Balmoral did not receive this. The incentives that development received were because the property is within the Town of Comox Downtown Vitalization Program area and were only partial rebates on their permit fees.

The Downtown Vitalization Program was established by council in 2014 to encourage densification in the downtown area using incentives to encourage mixed-use commercial and residential development that would support and increase not only downtown businesses, but also the area’s social and environmental vitality. New developments within this area can access incentives including priority processing, revitalization tax exemption for the residential component of the development, building permit fee reduction, and development permits fee rebates.

In May, the town expects to publish another report to council and a public notice on the Downtown Vitalization Program and the related Tax Exemption Bylaw, to garner community input as council considers an extension of the program for another year. When that process starts, I encourage residents to submit their feedback directly to council. To learn more about the Downtown Vitalization Program visit comox.ca/planning-and-building. To view a list of the properties that received Permissive Tax Exemptions this year including churches, the Legion, the tennis clubhouse, and our local Pearl Ellis Gallery visit comox.ca/finance.

Russ Arnott

Mayor, Town of Comox

Letter to the Editor

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