City of Nanaimo grants $1.5M in permissive tax exemptions

NANAIMO – Draft 2013 Annual Municipal Report shows the Port Theatre Society, Nature Trust of B.C. received largest tax exemptions.

A hundred organizations were given a tax break in 2013, a new report shows.

The City of Nanaimo has released financial statistics in its draft 2013 Annual Municipal Report, which show $1.5 million in taxes were exempted last year. The number is up from $1.4 million in 2012.

According to Coun. Diana Johnstone, chairwoman of the Grants Advisory Committee, permissive tax exemptions are mostly given to non-profits and organizations that add to residents’ quality of life and provide services not otherwise available, like curling or racquetball.

There is no limit to the number or value of exemptions granted. Unlike Parksville, which capped tax exemptions at $225,00 over 10 years, the City of Nanaimo generally grants exemptions to eligible applicants, Johnstone said, adding a limit might be something that comes up in the next round of budget discussions.

“I know that we are always being looked upon by our taxpayers to ensure their tax dollars are spent to the best way and I think that perhaps in the future we should look at it for sure,” Johnstone said, although she believes the current system is operating fine and mirrors what’s done in other, similar-sized communities.

About 30 per cent of those that received exemptions in 2013 were religious organizations.

The 10 largest exemptions:

1.    The Port Theatre Society $284,054

2.    Nature Trust of BC $161,451

3.    Nanaimo District Senior Citizens’ Housing Development Society $115 547

4.    Island Corridor Foundation $105 210

5.    Good Samaritan Canada (A lutheran social service organization) $98 617

6.    Centennial Museum $41,805

7.    The McGirr Sports Society $39,790 (managed by MS but city facility)

8.    Nanaimo Child Development Centre Society $29,027

9.    Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society $23,259

10.    Bishop of Victoria $22,500