Tax exemptions have been granted to six non-profit organizations in Spallumcheen, but not without some lengthy debate.
Staff had proposed a bylaw exempting the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Monastery of the Carmel of St. Joseph, Caravan Farm Theatre, Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Hullcar and Deep Creek Hall Society and O’Keefe Ranch from taxation for 2012 and 2013.
However, Mayor Will Hansma was among those Monday who had problems with exempting the groups for two years.
“I’m having a little trouble with this, especially over two years,” said Hansma.
“I just don’t know about that.”
Coun. Ralph Leyenhorst suggested that “a possible change of winds” coming up, a reference to the November municipal elections, would make it better to pass a bylaw calling for one-year exemptions.
Coun. Christine Fraser argued that non-profit societies can feel better about budget planning knowing their taxes are taken care of for more than one year.
“This way the societies are not worried about where the extra money is going to come from for next year’s budget,” said Fraser.
“We’re not giving them grants-in-aid. It’s a small way we can help them.”
The vote to pass the bylaw for two years was defeated with Hansma and councillors Andrew Casson and Leyenhorst opposed. Fraser and Janice Brown voted in favour.
Coun. Dave Brew, who sits on the board of O’Keefe Ranch, excused himself from the deliberations and votes. Coun. Todd York was absent from the meeting.
The vote to offer one-year exemptions was passed unanimously.
Township financial officer Brian Freeman-Marsh explained that since his arrival in 1995, Hullcar, the Seventh Day Adventist Church and O’Keefe Ranch have been receiving the exemption on a yearly basis.
The monastery started applying and receiving the exemption several years ago, and the Boys and Girls Club was included last year.
Caravan Farm Theatre applied a year ago and was rejected.
In 2011, the applicants’ taxes would have brought in $24,350 to the township.
Exemptions in 2012 will see Spallumcheen forego approximately $25,000 in collections from the organizations.