Downtown Businesses Being Offered Tax Exemptions and Grants Through New Programs

The RMWB is now offering a tax exemption for businesses in the downtown core.

New commercial development and those who expand on their already existing property can have a portion of their municipal property taxes waived for five years.

This covers the accessed value of improvements on the properties.

Lisa Sweet, Director of the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation, tells Mix News this will hopefully encourage outside businesses to consider Fort McMurray as a potential location.

“Those businesses might hope the community becomes competitive, so businesses will choose to invest in Fort McMurray versus another community that doesn’t offer these same types of incentives.”

Property taxes are split into three areas – municipal taxes, education, and senior citizen accommodation. The municipal portion covers around 51 per cent.

As an example, if the value of the work is $1 million the owners would save around $20,000 over the five-years.

Applications for the tax exemption program will be accepted until December 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, businesses in the downtown core can also apply for four different grants to help spruce up their property.

The RMWB is offering 50 per cent matching reimbursement grants to help property owners improve the inside and outside of their business, construct patios, and beautify their area.

The facade grant will offer up to $75,000, $100,000 depending on the building, the exterior grant up to $50,000, the patio grant up to $10,000, and the beautification projects up to $5,000 for small projects and up to $30,000 for murals.

“The facade grant has shown up to 20 per cent increase in sales, the patio grant has seen increase in revenue by 30 per cent, and the beautification grant has seen increases of 15 to 30 per cent in sales,” added Sweet.

The grants will be handed out via a first come first serve basis. $5 million has been allocated for the program.

The deadline to apply for the incentives program is December 30, 2020.

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