BYLAW NO. 1339/20
New Non-Residential Assessment Subclasses From 2021 To Aid Business Revitalization And Expansion Goals
At its Regular Meeting on May 19th 2020, Council adopted Bylaw No. 1339/20, which creates the necessary mechanisms to both boost small business in difficult times and discourage the ongoing challenges to our local business environment with Vacant Non-Residential properties.
WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?
One of the key recommendations of the recent Business Revitalization and Expansion (BR&E) report was that the Town urgently address the economic stagnation that comes from vacant non-residential properties that sit without operating businesses behind their doors year after year. In addition, by token of the same mechanisms being required to introduce it, Council is keen to give itself the ability to give small business properties a tax break in the years ahead given the challenges facing the Alberta economy.
It is necessary to provide notice of these actions now to provide reasonable notice to those property owners who may be impacted by new Non-Residential tax rates in 2021.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN DOING THIS?
As authorized by the Municipal Government Act, Council can choose to set criteria by which Non-Residential (Class 2) properties will be taxed within different sub-classes:
- Small Business Property
- Vacant Non-Residential Property
- Other Non-Residential
Bylaw 1339 contains both criteria for being placed in a subclass and the tax measures that Council may consider annually for properties in each class. It also sets the regulations around how property owners can apply to be placed in different subclasses using statutory declarations.
These changes only apply to properties within the C1, C2 or IN Land Use Districts.
HOW DOES THE SMALL BUSINESS PROPERTY SUB-CLASS WORK?
Any property within the Town of Nanton meeting the criteria for the Small Business Property could have a tax rate set that is up to 25% less than the general (Other) non-residential rate. To ensure that a property is in the subclass, the property must be owned or leased by a business that:
- Held a valid Town of Nanton business licence attached to the property at December 31 of the preceding tax year; and
- Had no more than ten (10) full-time employees across Canada at December 31 of the preceding tax year.
HOW DOES THE VACANT NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY SUB-CLASS WORK?
Any property within the Town of Nanton meeting the criteria for the Vacant Non-Residential Property could have a tax rate set that is up to double (200%) the general (Other) non-residential rate. Properties that find themselves in this sub-class will have met all of the following criteria. They will be property owned or leased by a business or person that:
- is located within the C1, C2 or IN Land Use Districts as defined by Town of Nanton Land Use Bylaw 1246/13, as amended; and
- was assessed at or above the median assessed value for all Non-Residential (Class 2) properties within the Town of Nanton assessment roll in the preceding tax year; and
- was subject to non-residential taxation in the two preceding tax years; and
- had no valid municipal or regional business licence attached to the property in the two preceding tax years; and
- had not been connected to the water or sewer utilities or used under 10m3 metered water and sewer in the two preceding tax years; and
- is not currently assessed as an approved residential or other permitted use that does not require a business licence; and
- has had no development permit approved in the preceding two tax years by the municipal subdivision and development authority.
These criteria insure, as reasonably as possible, that this tax rate will target genuinely vacant non-residential properties of long standing and offers a quick route for the owner to be placed in either the Other or Small Business Property sub-classes instead. Council’s goal is to see properly licensed businesses operating on these properties.
WHAT WILL THE TOWN DO WITH THE POTENTIAL REVENUE GENERATED?
The Town appreciates that there may be some interest and concern that the Vacant Non-Commercial Property Sub-Class tax rate could yield revenue from the unfortunate perceived circumstances of some property owners. Bylaw 1339 constrains what can be done with any extra revenue generated from that rate by providing Council with the following options or limitations:
- Transfer to the ‘Public Realm Improvement Reserve Fund’ for the purpose of funding amenities, infrastructure and other improvements that tangibly and visibly improve the physical condition, appearance and function of the public realm and provide a public benefit to the community overall;
- Transfer to the Town of Nanton “Nanton Arena Multiplex Renewal Reserve” for the purpose of the renovation or renewal of the municipal ice arena, swimming pool, curling rink and associated spaces and land.
- Use the revenue to fund an annual discretionary ‘Nanton commercial façade improvement grant’ program to provide up to 50 per cent of the costs of a commercial property renewing or upgrading the aesthetic appearance of its façade.
- Use the revenue to help fund current year Town projects that improve the availability of serviced industrial land in Nanton.
Ii is hoped that the business community itself will weigh in on what should be done with any revenue generated within these options.
ARE THERE CONSEQUENCES TO MISLEADING THE TOWN IN ORDER TO BE PLACED IN OR REMAIN WITHIN A PREFERRED SUB-CLASS?
Yes. If any condition of the statutory declaration signed in accordance with the Bylaw is contravened, or if a false or misleading statement or information is provided on the statutory declaration by the persons registered on titles, the said persons:
- Will be liable to pay the tax rate approved for their property’s appropriate sub-class for the current taxation year.
- Will be guilty of an offence and shall be liable for a minimum specified penalty of $5,000.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?
Tackling the Vacant Non-Residential property issue in our Town fairly using the Municipal Government Act changes of 2018 is a bit of a first in our Province. It will not impact very many tax rolls. While we have worked hard with our assessor, legal advisors and consultants, there was no template out there waiting to be duplicated. If any aspect to this bylaw or the criteria proves problematic or unintended, it can be further refined or improved.
For more information:
Town of Nanton
2107 – 21 Avenue, Box 609
Nanton, AB T0L 1R0