Tax exemption bid generates criticism

Armstrong applying for a permissive tax exemption on property in Spallumcheen doesn’t sit well with a pair of township councillors

The City of Armstrong applying for a permissive tax exemption on property in Spallumcheen doesn’t sit well with a pair of township councillors.

The property is located on Thomas Hayes Road and is leased by the city from the province. The city currently subleases the property to a Spallumcheen farm for the purposes of farming and spray irrigation of reclaimed water.

“Up to now, B.C. Assessment has incorrectly applied a statutory exemption code for this property. The error has been discovered and a permissive exemption from the township is now required,” said Armstrong chief financial officer Terry Martens.

“This property is a vital component of the city’s sanitary sewer disposal function.”

The exemption is worth just under $2,900.

Spallumcheen council agreed to the exemption for one year.

“I really don’t think Spallumcheen taxpayers should be paying for a City of Armstrong facility,” said Coun. Christine Fraser.

“I get it’s been exempted in the past, and there is a benefit to our farmers, but our farmers are also paying for that benefit, and it’s also a benefit to Armstrong. At the end of the day, it comes down to our taxpayers covering something the City of Armstrong should be paying for.”

Coun. Todd York said the request from the city puts the township in a no-win situation.

“I think a message has been sent that another method of dealing with this in the future would be preferred,” said York.

Also receiving one-year exemptions for 2016 were the Grandview 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  (City of Vernon). The exemptions are worth $29,515.84.