Council looks at ways to help homeowners who demolish old houses

Demolition incentive policy in the works

Rimbey town council has denied a Rimbey landowner who demolished his home a break on his taxes, but are looking at other ways to help taxpayers who decide to demolish old, dilapidated buildings.

In a letter to council, the landowner said he evicted a renter from his home in May due to failure to meet Alberta Health guidelines. After inspecting the home, the homeowner decided to demolish it.

“Protocol was followed and a demolition permit was obtained. All services were removed and the house was demolished by the first week of July, 2019,” the letter to council states.

The cost of demolition was approximately $6,500.

“I would appreciate a break on the taxes on this property for 2019,” the letter states.

In her report to council CAO Lori Hillis notes that the municipal government act states that council may refund all or a part of taxes if it considers it equitable to do so. For the tax refund to be fair for all taxpayers, consideration should be given to all similar properties where the houses have been demolished.

Hillis noted that there have been three demolition permits issued in 2019.

The total taxes on improvements on these properties is $1,022.71.

Council agreed to accept Hillis’s recommendation to deny the request for a refund or reduction on the taxes, however they are considering implementing a demolition incentive policy which would financially assist homeowners who wish to tear down old buildings.

Mayor Rick Pankiw noted that homeowners who “wanted to tear down garbage” should receive some compensation and Coun. Paul Payson said “we’re not wanting to forgive taxes,” but ensure there is legislation in place that financially assists homeowners who find themselves in that position.

Council has directed administration to look at other municipalities to investigate their demolition initiative policy.

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