First Winkler tax rebate cheques given to businesses

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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A City of Winkler incentive program for businesses is paying off.
A 2017 city bylaw provided financial assistance in the form of tax rebates for industrial and commercial development, and the first cheques have been issued.
To date 15 applicants have been issued cheques with an overall total of $21,499.
Mayor Martin Harder said the rebates are available based on any new general municipal taxes resulting from an increase in the assessed value of the property due to a building addition, renovation or new building construction.
The rebates are given over five years. The first year businesses pay nothing on the added taxes, which then goes up by 20 per cent each year.
“Finally in year 6 is where you’ll end up paying the whole tax bill,” Harder said.
The bylaw was passed to establish a financial assistance program that would encourage and assist industrial and commercial development to promote economic growth and Harder said it is working.
“It’s made a huge difference,” he said. “It’s a huge incentive for our industrial and commercial businesses to invest in Winkler and we think the system works. We’ve had tremendous growth and some of it is attributable to this incentive plan.”
“I know there’s been several that have come here for the incentive,” he added. “Because for a significant size of business it’s a lot of money.”
The program was made in Winkler and Harder said others are following the city’s example.
“There are other communities who are also doing it now,” he said. “It feels good to be a leader and we certainly demonstrated we show leadership in encouraging people to invest in Winkler and we appreciate it when they do.”
This is the first year cheques have been given out under this program, but the city thinks there are up to 25 more eligible businesses that could be missing out.
“If you had a building permit that you had taken out for commercial or industrial you should check with our planning department and fill out an application (for a) refund,” Harder said.
The application can be found on www.cityofwinkler.ca and can be completed and submitted on the site. Anyone who requires assistance is asked to contact the administration office. Deadline to apply for their 2018 commercial tax assistance is Dec. 31, 2018.

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