The city will be marketing a program to help businesses improve their property after council voted to extend the application deadline for 2017 projects until the end of this year.
“Staff noticed that businesses that had not applied for the City’s Business Retention and Attraction Incentive Policy (BRAIP) were undertaking renovations that would probably qualify for a municipal tax rebate under the program,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Council passed this policy to support our business community, and we want to make sure that owners who can take advantage of this are aware it’s available to them.”
The issue was first brought to the attention of the Economic Development Advisory Committee, which felt that the city needed to find a method to ensure businesses are reminded of the BRAIP program. The committee recommended that council extend the application deadline for 2017 projects to December 31, 2017 so that projects started this year can apply for BRAIP.
The program grants rebates based on commercial property taxes. In the case of new commercial construction, the rebate paid out over three years and is equal to one year’s worth of the increase in municipal property taxes resulting from the construction. In early 2017, the program was expanded to include projects that were primarily cosmetic in nature as would not necessarily result in an increase in assessment and municipal taxes paid. Such projects are eligible to receive a one-time grant equal to 10 per cent of the municipal property taxes levied in the year the project is completed.
“When a business owner renovates their property, they help to make Cold Lake a more attractive community,” Copeland said. “We wanted the program to include renovations and facelifts to businesses as well as new construction and expansions.”
Generally, commercial property owners wanting a rebate under the BRAIP program would need to apply for a rebate before the project was started. The extension passed by council will give any eligible project started in 2017 until the end of the year to apply.
City staff make business owners and commercial property owners aware of the BRAIP policy when building and development permits are applied for. While many construction and renovation projects require permits, some purely cosmetic renovations do not. City staff will reach out to businesses that have undertaken renovations in 2017 to make them aware of the program and the extension. In the future, notices reminding businesses of the BRAIP will be mailed out with the annual notice of business licence renewals.