By Treena Mielke
After months of haggling with business owners about its decision to chop a tax incentive plan, Rimbey town council has given the green light to new policies designed to inject a financial boost to developers.
At its regular meeting Sept. 12, council approved the new business development incentive grant program, which is only to be in effect for two years, and is based on improvements resulting in an increased assessment value.
Developers who qualify for the program are eligible to receive a one-time $10,000 rebate.
Council also gave thumbs up to a development contribution policy.
Under the rules of this policy, developers who have projects with a market value of more than $250,000 are eligible of receiving 15 per cent or up to $45,000 from the town to help offset the cost of infrastructure improvements.
These improvements include sanitary sewer and minor and major drainage systems, water systems and roadways and the restoration of public properties which are disturbed during the developer’s work.
The new programs were approved by council with little fanfare although Coun. Joe Anglin argued unsuccessfully to up the amount developers may be eligible to receive for municipal improvements to $90,000 from $45,000, pending council’s approval.
“To raise that to $90,000 would mean some developers would make out better under this new plan,” he said.
However, Anglin’s motion was defeated in a 4-1 vote.
Council agreed that a clause in the policy that states council, at its discretion, may adjust the development contributions, would allow the number to be adjusted if necessary.
“I don’t really see the need to change it now,” said Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson.
Coun. Gayle Rondeel said MSI funding, which council plans to use to pay developers for infrastructure improvements, could be reduced, therefore council has to budget accordingly.
“To base it (the refund) on a program you have no control over seems out of control,” she said.
Development contributions will only be paid upon the issuance of a construction completion certificate for the municipal improvements.
Council also gave the nod to a fire hydrant development policy.
Under the terms of this policy, the town may equally share the cost of providing a fire hydrant if the existing hydrant fails to meet current codes.
The policy also states the town may front the cost of the developer’s portion of the hydrant in lieu of tax credits.
The fire hydrant must not be located on private property unless it is placed in a utility right of way.