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LETTER: Mayor’s housing statement is misleading

From reader Jim Reimer

Re: Nelson gives property tax exemptions to 12 churches, 12 other non-profits, Nov.11

Mayor John Dooley’s suggestion that the three new building projects will not be fair contributors to the city because of reduced assessed values is misleading.

I quote: “They are valued at a lower rate and we still have to supply all the services, police, fire, water, sewer, snow plowing, garbage. We are still on the same hook as we would be if it was market value.”

Let’s examine this:

1. Police, fire, snow plowing and garbage are already in the budget whether these buildings are built or not.

2. All three housing projects pay for their own garbage disposal, so no cost to the city here.

3. The 105 new apartments will each pay approximately $1,000 per year for water, sewer. New money.

4. These projects paid for upgrades in utilities that went beyond the scope of the projects itself.

5. Even at lower assessed values, the three building will provide upwards of $120,000 per year of new tax money.

6. Lastly, and most importantly, the prosperity of the city is dependant on the success of our retail and tourism industry. These sectors require workers and the workers need a place to live. If they can’t find decent affordable housing, then the employer won’t have employees. This in turn has a direct effect on the prosperity of the businesses and general tax base for the city. Not withstanding the above, the local economy benefited from the capital expenditure each of these projects provided.

Herridge Place is full with a long waiting list, as are Hall Street and Lakeside. We need more housing and the city should find ways to encourage more low income housing with incentives as other municipalities are doing.

Jim Reimer, Pastor

Kootenay Christian Fellowship

Nelson