Calgary councillors give Kensington legion one-time tax break
A local legion has received a hefty property tax cut after Calgary city council voted almost unanimously on Monday to help the struggling organization.
The new four-story building includes a full restaurant, and with the added space, the legion’s property taxes ballooned.
A notice of motion submitted to council shows that the legion owed $29,697 in arrears to the city, and asked to have the $46,686 in taxes for the mostly vacant fourth floor canceled.
In total, the city canceled more than $94,000 in property taxes, something that Legion President Mark Barham is thankful for.
“There was absolute recognition that the Royal Canadian Legion does what it does for the veterans, veterans families and communities,” Barham said.
He said the legion asked for tax relief because it’s had trouble renting out the third and fourth floors of the new building.
Despite that, Barham said the idea of partnering legions with non-profit restaurants is still the way forward for struggling legions.
“We’ve had other branch presidents come to visit us from as far away as Ontario,” Barham said. “[They] come to see what the model looks like and how it’s going to work for them.”
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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that it’s important for the city to help out when necessary, but reinforced that these tax breaks are not the norm.
“We do have a nonprofit operator that is having a bit of trouble,” Nenshi said. “So this is a way of really helping a nonprofit, not so much bailing out the restaurant.”
Barham said he understands the process council went through to provide the financial relief and said he doesn’t plan on going back to council next year.
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