CALGARY (660NEWS) — Small businesses in Calgary are due to receive more direct relief.
On Monday, City Council voted in favour of a different relief package compared to one that was initially voted on last year.
Local businesses in the city will receive $30 million, while non-residential tax increases will be capped at 10 per cent.
In November, councillors voted in favour of a plan that would freeze tax increases completely, and offer some rebates to help out during the pandemic. However, the city discovered that a lot of businesses who would see a significant benefit of that plan really didn’t need it.
“We know that about 56 per cent of those that would receive benefit would be those publicly traded companies, private equity firms that have been supported and have profited through the pandemic,” said Ward 6 councilor Jeff Davison, who initially presented the motion.
The motion also includes $13 million from the city’s rainy day funds to cap the tax increases at no more than ten per cent, and still, the majority of businesses will not see an increase.
“The average business will see no increase and no business will see over 10 per cent but also that we are going to set aside some money for a program that will directly help businesses that have been impacted by COVID,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Davison said it was important for them to turn their focus towards the local businesses that have had the hardest time over the past year.
“Across the board, where can that money help support local,” he said. “One of the things we’re going to do is work with the Business Advisory Committee, who really has ears to the ground in terms of what do local businesses need. They will work with the administration’s COFLEX team to figure out how we can get that support out quickly at a time when those small businesses need it.”
Davison added they will open this up for businesses in all areas of the city, not just downtown or in industrial areas for example.
Nenshi said city administration had also done some previous research on this topic a couple of years ago and this should help inform the next steps.
The motion was approved unanimously.