Penticton city council decided to sidestep a bit of annual controversy at their regular meeting this week.
Every year, Penticton city council is faced with a list of nonprofits and service groups that don’t meet the city’s requirements for being granted a permissive tax exemption. In past years, the city has disallowed these groups, which has resulted in public outcry, and city council reversing its decision when the group’s appeal.
“I want to remind council that in years past, we have stuck with table B as being non-conforming and excluded them, only to have them come back the following meeting to say ‘we do great community work,’” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.
This year, the list of non-conforming applicants include the Salvation Army, the Seniors’ Drop-in Centre, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles and the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society, for a total of about $31,000 in taxes.
Coun. Helena Konanz made the motion to pass the exemptions, including the non-conforming groups and was supported by Coun. Judy Sentes.
“The services they provide to our community in a scenario of social need is remarkable, something that wouldn’t happen otherwise,” said Sentes. “As we see the downloading from our federal government, from the provincial government, I think these organizations do a great service for us.”
Council voted unanimously to pass the exemptions, resulting in forgiving $306,221 in taxes.