Skip to content

Organizations apply for Olds property tax exemptions

Seven local organizations have applied to the town for tax exemptions totalling just under $30,000
From left, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper, Olds Mayor Judy Dahl and Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Olds satellite director Holly Earle combine to cut the ribbon officially opening the Olds centre in its new location. The organization is asking for a property tax exemption. File photo/MVP Staff

OLDS — Seven local organizations have applied to the Town of Olds for property tax exemptions totalling $29,481.66, according to a memo from town staff. 

After a lengthy discussion on the matter, council voted during a Jan. 9 meeting to have staff bring the matter back with a view to exempting only the municipal portion of taxes for those organizations.  

Under that scenario, the organizations still have to pay seniors’ tax and the education tax. 

The matter was slated to come up during council’s Jan. 23 meeting.  

However, in an email to the Albertan, chief administrative officer Brent Williams said town staff had done more research on tax exemptions and the idea to parcel out just one tax from the others just won’t work.  

“We cannot vary tax exemptions as per the MGA (Municipal Government Act) and its associated regulation on community organizations tax exemption,” he wrote. “It must be an all or none approach.” 

The seven organizations: the Boys and Girls Club of Olds & Area, Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre, Friends of the Grizzlys, Imagine Gymnastics Club, Mountain View Lodge No. 16, Padnoma Support Services, and Scouts Canada all applied to be exempt from property taxation for the 2023 taxation year. 

A request for decision (RFD) from town staff said property taxes can be exempted in whole or in part, when property is owned or leased, and operated by a non-profit organization and able to meet the conditions and qualifications in MGA regulations. 

Those requirements are: 

• The property must be owned or leased and operated by a non-profit organization; 

• At least 60 per cent of the time that that facility is used, it  must be used for a charitable and benevolent purpose that benefits the general public in the community where it is located; 

• The resources must be devoted chiefly to the charitable or benevolent purpose for which the facility is used; 

• The facility must be unrestricted a minimum of 70 per cent of the time that it is used; and

• The property must not be restricted, based on race, culture, ethnic origin, religious belief, property ownership, unreasonable fees or membership requirements. 

“The applicants have met the application timelines and the information requirements set forth in the property tax exemption regulation,” the RFD said. 

“The determination then needs to be made by council if they believe that the regulation requirement that the property is being used for a ‘charitable and benevolent purpose’ that is for the benefit of the ‘general public’ is being satisfied for each application.” 

Finance director Sheena Linderman told council that of the seven organizations applying for tax exemptions, six had done so last year. She said the Friends of the Grizzlys application was “a whole new application this year.” 

Councillors Darren Wilson and Wanda Blatz agreed with a suggestion by Coun. Heather Ryan to only exempt the municipal portion of taxes. 

Wilson, who said he was “putting on my Scrooge outfit” for the discussion said while he agrees all the organizations do benefit the community, he had concerns. 

He noted council had also agreed to provide Family and Community Support Services funding in the community. That funding totals $110,000. 

“I’m sympathetic to our business community and our residents who yeah, they’re seeing great escalation in their assessment values, but they’re also being asked to dip into their wallets too,” he said. 

Ryan and Wilson also expressed concern that over the years, council could receive more and more requests for tax exemptions.  

“I’m concerned where this potential could go. I’m concerned about being fair to everyone,” Wilson said. 

Coun. Harvey Walsh expressed support for the proposed tax exemptions. 

“I think these people do provide a benefit to our community,” he said, adding that council’s budget makes allowances for things like this.