Town of Ponoka to roll out new development tax incentive program soon

Town of Ponoka to roll out new development tax incentive program soon

Program would give tax break to buyers of new properties, newcomers

The Town of Ponoka is moving forward with a program that would provide a tax break incentive aimed at attracting new residents to Ponoka.

“There’s apparently active interest in the real estate market nowadays,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Albert Flootman, adding that Penhold is already doing a similar program.

Originally, the proposed New Development Tax Incentive Program was geared towards giving buyers of new, never lived-in homes a 50 per cent reduction in municipal taxes over a three-year period, but throughout the discussion during council’s July 14 meeting, it was decided to include all home buyers new to Ponoka.

Council passed a resolution in June that administration start working on a municipal tax incentive for purchasers of new commercial and residential properties.

Mayor Rick Bonnett says his concern is that Ponoka doesn’t have a lot of brand new homes.

“When we talked about proposing this, it was basically to try to draw some people out of these cities,” said Bonnett.

“I think it’s more about whether you’re new to Ponoka rather than a new home, period, because Ponoka is not sitting on a whole lot of news homes that are up for sale and never lived in.”

Penhold, in contrasts, does have a fair number of new homes that are being built by developers, he says.

Bonnett says part of the marketing to invite people to move to Ponoka would be based on low COVID-19 cases, short line-ups and access to amenities and open spaces, which may be lacking in larger centres.

Coun. Sandra Lyon, who is a real estate agent, added she believes there is only one new, unsold home in the Laebon subdivision in Ponoka.

Lyon also agreed that the program should not be strictly for new houses, but based on new residents.

Flootman responded, saying when the program was first discussed, it was about increasing new assessment.

“So that was the focus when we designed this,” said Flootman.

“What you’re doing tonight is shifting the focus to new residents, and I think that’s a good thing from an economic development perspective, as it’s the people that bring economic activity, so thank you.”

He added that council should be careful to avoid unintended consequences.

“For example, we wouldn’t want to provide an incentive to demolish and rebuild a house if that house has been identified as a heritage resource — it wouldn’t be appropriate,” he said.

“These are preliminary comments. I just want to caution council against moving too quickly.”

Administration asked council if they could go ahead with marketing the program immediately, or if council wanted them to wait before they were presented with the full program for their approval.

It was felt timing was important, as people from larger centres are apparently considering moving to smaller and more rural communities as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

Flootman recommended council wait until the complete program is presented, but told council, if they chose to go ahead with the marketing, “I just want to emphasize that you are, in essence, promising a program’s coming and these will be the basic terms and conditions.

“So if you’re ready to commit yourselves to that without seeing any other background, great, but I would just recommend caution.”

“That’s why we asked you to look into it, because we’re committed to doing it, because, I know in the couple other towns [that have implemented similar programs] that people will have moved there and are building, because of this,” said Coun. Ted Dillon.

“Let’s get on the wagon, let’s get it moving.”

Coun. Kevin Ferguson was in agreement, saying, “Let’s jump in the pool, let’s get ‘er going.”

Coun. Carla Prediger argued that starting a conversation now shouldn’t commit the town to any details, such as exact numbers of timelines.

“The communication … shouldn’t adhere us to the communication. It’s a heads up, and that gives you enough time to get the facts together and to present us with a bona fide plan to move forward,” said Prediger.

“If we’re going to tell the public that there’s going to be a tax incentive program coming for residential, we need to give them some idea of what it is,” said Flootman.

Prediger says the communication could say the town is looking into a possible program, rather than saying it’s coming.

“It’s how you present the communication, so it’s not binding,” she said.

The cost of developing the program is expected to be about $12,000, funded from the economic development budget. This price does not include the cost of marketing the program.

Prediger made the motion that council move forward with the tax development incentive program for both new residents and buyers of new homes, and that marketing begin immediately, with the full plan to be presented to council at the next council meeting on Aug. 11.

Town of Ponoka

Just Posted

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

(Photo submitted)
PHOTOS: Ponoka Secondary Campus grad

Ponoka Secondary Campus held a drive-in graduation ceremony for their 2021 graduating… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Victoria’s 2020 Canada Day celebration will not happen this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations backs cancelling Canada Day celebration

Statement made after Victoria cancels Canada Day event as a statement of reconciliation

United Nurses of Alberta is slamming Health Minister Tyler Shandro for suggesting staff vacations are causing emergency room problems. (Black Press Media files)
Physicians were suffering burnout and then the pandemic made it worse, UBC study finds

Burnout prevalent among 68 per cent of doctors – likely a reflection of issue globally, says researcher

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is bringing in a new coal policy saying new or expanded thermal coal mines create unacceptable environmental impacts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable environmental effects:’ New federal policy restricts thermal coal

Policy puts another roadblock in front of Coalspur Mines and its Alberta Vista mine expansion

Most Read