Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:25

Tax concessions providing boost for businesses in Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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New and existing businesses in Swift Current continue to benefit from the City’s tax incentive policy.
Councillors approved requests for assessment exemptions from three businesses during a regular council meeting Nov. 26.

Director of Business Development Marty Salberg told the meeting the City’s tax incentive policy has been well received by many businesses since its introduction in 2003.
“Since that time we’ve had tens of millions of dollars of commercial and industrial construction take advantage of the tax incentive policy,” he said after the meeting.
He felt the policy is a good indication of the City’s commitment to support new developments and the expansion of existing businesses in Swift Current.
“It has always been well received and we’re happy to provide that,” he said. “The taxable assessments are going to be there for a long time, so it’s a good investment on behalf of the City.”
Two of the applications presented to the council meeting were for assessment exemption under the expanding business incentive policy. It provides 100 per cent exemption on the assessed value of buildings in years one and two, 50 per cent exemption in year three, 25 per cent exemption in year four and full taxation thereafter.
WW Smith Insurance Ltd., which will celebrate 100 years of doing business in Swift Current in 2013, received exemption as a result of a major renovation to the exterior of its downtown building.
Whiskey Jack Creek Construction Ltd, a locally-owned business, received exemption for the construction of a new building at 650 North Railway Street East that will be leased for industrial or commercial use.
Salberg said this site, which is only 50 feet deep, was for a long time considered to be undevelopable. Council recently approved a relaxation of the setback requirements to allow construction of a building close to the property line and street.
The third application was submitted in accordance with the City’s expanding business incentive policy. It provides 100 per cent exemption on the assessed value of buildings in year one, 50 per cent exemption in year two, 25 per cent exemption in year three and full taxation thereafter. Under both policy approaches the taxes on the land are not exempted.
Souris Valley Limited Partnership received exemption for its new Motel 6 development in Swift Current. The estimated construction cost of the 58-room facility is $4.6 million.
According to Salberg the number of applicants to this tax incentive policy has been quite steady year after year.
“The exact mix between expanding businesses or new businesses is hard to say,” he mentioned. “The uptake has been good on both. … So it’s a pretty well rounded program that’s been taken advantage of by businesses of all sorts.”
Other cities have similar programs, but Salberg said those tax incentives are usually more focused on specific business categories, such as new manufacturing. In Swift Current’s case, it was felt the incentive should be available to all businesses, both new and expanding ones.
“I’ve talked about our program with many cities throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta and people have thought it’s a pretty good program,” he noted.

Read 1382 times Last modified on Friday, 30 November 2012 07:53

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