New budget receives lukewarm support from the Chamber

By David F. Rooney

Council’s new budget, which incorporates a 2.5 per cent increase in taxes on commercial property is receiving a lukewarm nod from Chamber of Commerce President Don Teuton.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said Saturday. “I’m glad, I guess, that it’s not a huge increase but it’s still very high.”

Teuton who, with his wife Susan, owns the Inn on the River, said local businesses had hoped for a decrease in business taxes.

“What’s really needed is a reduction to help small businesses and to attract people and new businesses to Revelstoke,” he said, adding that while a small increase may not look too bad to some, when businesses get hit with them year after year the end result will be to drive businesses out of town.

“It just keeps eating away at you,” said Teuton who had appeared at Council’s special meeting as a Committee of the Whole on Thursday when it considered the final draft of the five-year plan and gave a tentative nod to the 2010 tax structure.

At the meeting, he and past Chamber president Deenie Ottenbreit pleaded with Councillors to give businesses a break on their  taxes this year. In a letter presented to Council they said:

“While we understand that Small Commercial Property tax accounts for 38% of the City’s Tax Revenue (vs 48% for Residential) and is based on your revenue needs, it is also a fact:

  • That property taxes are profit insensitive
  • That small businesses consume less of the city services in comparison to residential
  • That Revelstoke is still suffering from the economic crisis of 2008 & 2009
  • That without the quality and quantity of services provided by the Small Businesses in this community, a high tax burden will threaten the health of our local economy.

“We do understand the challenge you have to fairly manage, budget and maintain the City’s finances.  However we urge you to consider a reduction in the Commercial Property tax component of the City’s tax revenue, so we do not lose any more small businesses in our community.”

Council raised residential property taxes by five per cent and lowered the rate for major industry by over 19 per cent. Revelstokians have 30 days to comment on the City’s 2010-2014 Five-Year Plan, which envisions a budget of more than $14 million,  after which Council will vote on its adoption.

You can read The Current’s initial budget story here: