Costs little but means a lot

Journal Pioneer staff
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In its first meeting as a town, the O’Leary municipal council made a big move Thursday night aimed at attracting new development to within its boundaries. It introduced a new tax concession policy meant to convince potential developers that O’Leary is where they should build their next house or commercial property. 

Council is willing to write off all of the municipal taxes for a minimum of two years provided the development is worth $100,000 or more. A new porch or deck would hardly do it, but a new house, apartment building or commercial property certainly could qualify. The full tax concession will run four years for investments worth $300,000 or more.

Many municipalities offered concessions that cover part of the municipal taxation. O’Leary’s old policy, for instance would have covered 50 per cent of the municipal taxes for five years - on developments worth $400,000 or more.

As generous as the new policy might be, it really is only costing the municipality revenue on developments that would have happened in O’Leary even without the concession, and even then, the new town is only losing out on that revenue for up to four years.

It is in the developments that will come O’Leary’s way because of the offer that the town will gain, in the long run and, really, that’s what the concession is all about – investing in O’Leary’s future.

Invariably, an offer like this will raise concern among residents and businesses who have been paying municipal taxes in the community for years – where’s my break?

Their break, of course, is in having new neighbours, more businesses and more commercial traffic. Taken altogether, that’s worth a lot. It brings new opportunities and services to the town and, inevitably, new tax revenue that can be applied to either new services or to keep the current tax rate from increasing.

Of course, it would be much more costly to the town and its residents if nobody was to take the town up on its generous offer. If this concession fails to attract new development, O’Leary would not be able to afford new services and, inevitably, taxes would have to go up just to maintain what the town already has.

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