Council passes land pricing, tax incentive resolutions

Some new incentives as well as a 15 per cent lot pricing discount have been given the official approval by North Battleford council Monday.

Council passed several resolutions related to downtown and commercial corridor incentives, as well as residential incentives and land pricing, at their latest meeting. These had already been discussed at length at their previous planning committee meeting on Feb. 19 and there were no major changes to what was proposed at that time.

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First, the city passed a resolution to extend the Downtown Revitalization Incentive Policy. The current policy, already been in place for 24 months, will extend another 24 months at the current rates.

The policy covers building façade and site improvements, building improvements and expansion, vacant properties, brownfields, new construction and new residential, all downtown. City officials say they have been encouraged with what they see as robust development downtown under the existing policy.

Also approved was a three-piece tax incentive policy for the key commercial corridors of 100th Street and Railway Avenue:

• A building improvements and expansion program for interior, exterior, structural or additions with a three-year tax exemption for projects valued between $250,000 and $499,999 and $500,000 for four years;

• A renovations and demolition incentive for projects where a building is demolished and followed by new construction within 12 months – 100 per cent for the first two years, followed by 75 per cent, 50 per cent and 25 per cent in subsequent years.

• A brownfields tax incentive of 100 per cent for the first four years and 75 per cent for year five.

Council also approved a city-wide residential incentive policy. The incentive applies to the residential mill rate only and runs at 100 per cent for the first three years, 75 per cent in year four and 50 per cent in year five. The incentives will apply to the improvements on the land, not the land itself. The incentive is coming in to address a slow housing market in North Battleford, and the indication from administration is that the proposed policy has sparked some interest.

The policy is being introduced for a 12-month term, which is shorter than the downtown policy. City Planner Ryan Mackrell explained the real estate market is cyclical, so administration wants to be able to review the policy on a quick turnaround.

Finally, council has approved the residential land pricing for 2019, with a sale price of 15 per cent off all lots in Killdeer and in Fairview Heights for a 12-month period. Each lot already had a 20 per cent profit margin built in, so a 15 per cent discount will not result in a loss for the city.

The 15 per cent sale price was described as “aggressive” by city officials. It comes after a year when the city sold zero lots in Killdeer and Fairview Heights.

Interest has since picked up. Mackrell noted that since news broke of the 15 per cent sale price, there have been at least seven inquiries to his office. 

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