Two properties were denied a permissive property tax exemption by Prince Rupert city council on July 23.
The Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society and the Friendship House’s Pioneer Inn applied separately for a reduction of $15,250 and $8,400.
“I was reviewing it. Just in terms of fairness that we treat other property owners, my recommendation would be that we don’t grant the permissive taxes,” Mayor Lee Brain said in the council meeting.
The motion went forward without any discussion from council.
The application from the Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society was for 46 subsidized housing units in the former Anchor Inn. The non-profit society retrofitted the units, which will be available in August, “to support the City of Prince Rupert’s marginalized populous who cannot access affordable housing and homelessness.”
In chief financial officer Corinne Bomben’s report for the July 23 council meeting, she compares this property to the M’akola Housing Society’s home and apartments, which doesn’t receive a permissive tax exemption from the city.
“Every application for a tax exemption is considered based on the Community Charter, the benefits provided to the community, and the cost to taxpayers,” councillor Blair Mirau said by email. “For every tax exemption, the loss must be redistributed by putting additional burden on other taxpayers. In both cases that were not approved, council felt that neither applicant met all of the criteria.”
When the Anchor Inn property changed hands, it went from being classified as a business property to a residential property, granting the Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society an automatic $6,400 tax reduction before the permissive property tax exemption application. The society was denied the $15,250 reduction last Monday at council.
Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society said they have “no comment at this time other than we will address in a letter to follow.”
Meanwhile, the Friendship House already receives a tax reduction for its two other properties, the Friendship House and the Kaien Island Day Care facility. The request for further reduction is for the Pioneer Inn, which the Friendship House took ownership of last year.
In Bomben’s report, it states that the different properties under the Friendship House’s control “have very different programs than the services offered at the Pioneer Inn, which operates a facility providing accommodation to travellers”.