Should the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce be exempt from City taxes?
The chamber is one of many non-profit groups that have applied to the City for a permissive tax exemption for 2014 to 2016.
After much discussion, council decided Tuesday not to tamper with the list at this time, but to authorize a bylaw for the exemptions that will go back to council on Sept. 24 for first readings.
Final adoption is expected in late October.
Despite discussing tax exemptions for non-profits and churches nine months ago, City council wrestled with who should get a break.
Coun. Nancy Bepple said she had reservations about the chamber, because if the City allows it an exemption, it would also have to allow other groups that have membership and do lobbying, such as unions.
“At some time we may want to draw the line,” she said.
But the City hasn’t received applications from some of those other groups and there is criteria. There is also a cap on how much the exemptions total. The amount for 2013 was $340,114; the cap is $345,773.
Mayor Peter Milobar pointed out that the tax exemption bylaw was drafted after being developed in consultation with many non-profits.
Some of the other organizations on the exemption list are: Desert Gardens, Barnhartvale Community Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, B.C. SPCA, Canadian Mental Health Association, Children’s Circle Day Care Society, Heffley Creek Community Recreation Association, Kamloops AIDS Society, Kamloops Cadet Society, Elizabeth Fry, Kamloops Christian School Association, YM/YWCA, Kamloops Gun Club and Sugarloaf Rnaches, Kamloops Curling Club, Kamloops Lawn Bowling Association and Kamloops Symphony Society.
Coun. Nelly Dever questioned the gun club being on the list, as did Coun. Tina Lange.
Milobar said the gun club has a shooting range. He noted the club wasn’t pulled out as a concern during the January workshop when tax exemptions were discussed.
Some of the organizations on the exemption list have been on there for decades and there are a range of lease structures involved with some of their properties, said City parks, culture and recreation director Byron McCorkell.
Council opted to not tweak the list at this time and gauge public feedback at the next discussion on Sept. 24.