As this year’s budget has already been finalized, the approximate $13,000 would have had to come as partial grant-in-aid, rather than a permissive tax exemption.
Members of the church argued that there was no warning that the addition would not be tax exempt, and that the hall provides a service to the community. Councillors Dan Davies and Bruce Christensen were against declining its request, hoping to meet somewhere in the middle and see the church helped out in some way.
“I’d just hate to see them put into a crunch,” said Davies at today’s meeting. “I’d like to see us kind of help them out, at least for a portion of the tax bill, at least this year.”
“I think it’s unfair to penalize one particular church for adding a hall, when every church has a hall,” added Christensen.
However, Councillor Byron Stewart pointed out that the hall is not a worship space, and is intended to be a money-maker for the church, and is competition for other spaces that can be rented out by the public. The previous hall, which this one is modelled after, was also a school gym, making it exempt.
On the other side, Councillor Trevor Bolin argued that the city decided to make changes to its permissive tax exemptions, and this hall does not fall into the criteria of a worship space.
“Nobody likes surprises, and nobody likes to have to pay anything more than the next guy, but who gets the surprise?” he asks. “Does the Catholic church get the surprise or does the rest of the 9,032 people who don’t belong to that church get the surprise having to cover that bill?”
In the end, the motion to deny the request was approved, with Davies and Christensen voting against.