By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County council has passed a new commercial/industrial tax incentive bylaw.
The new bylaw will provide tax incentives to new businesses or existing businesses planning on expanding within the county. The bylaw stipulates a minimum assessment increase of $500,000 will be eligible for a rebate over three years on municipal taxes. The first year will provide for a 75 per cent rebate, 50 per cent in the second, and 25 per cent in year three.
The bylaw passed first reading in spring 2022 and was followed by public engagement through the administration of a survey and an open hall discussion night.
During the Dec. 1 council meeting, Reeve Tory Campbell said, “I have had very little feedback on this.” Deputy Reeve John Kuerbis said in speaking with business owners in and outside of his division, “the feedback I got from them was mixed,” but noted the general consensus was that the initial $50,000 minimum as outlined in the draft bylaw was “far too low.”
Several councillors noted the incentive could be the deciding factor for businesses considering the County for business. As outlined in the County’s 2022-2023 strategic plan to attract, expand, and retain business, the bylaw provides new investors and existing businesses looking to expand with a tangible benefit to do so within the County.
In a county-issued release, Reeve Campbell said, “To remain competitive in today’s economic climate, Lethbridge County must evaluate options that will encourage growth in our commercial and industrial sectors.”
During the Dec. 1 meeting, Kuerbis added, “It is a small amount but it is a very good gesture to show that we as the county are open for business and we are looking for people to bring in value-added products to compliment our agriculture and not compete with it.”
Tax incentives are applicable on future applications; no retroactive considerations will be made to existing/ongoing projects.