(File photo)

Town of Stettler council is focusing on economic development

Economic development was on the agenda during the Town of Stettler council’s inaugural meeting of 2022.

The first item on the agenda was a report to council from the Economic Development Committee.

Formed in 2018, the Economic Development Committee was created to spur economic development in the community of Stettler and was the primary driver behind both the residential and commercial assessment studies which were completed over the last couple of years.

“Since 2018, the committee has been very, very, busy,” said assistant chief administrative officer Steve Gerlitz.

Out of the gate, the committee met with developers in the community to look at what was available in the community, and what was missing.

One of the first gaps identified in the community was housing, which ultimately led to the in-development subdivision beside the agricultural grounds and the “Wellings of Stettler” proposed senior’s complex on the west end of town.

According to Coun. Gord Lawlor, the studies give developers something that they “can take to the bank.”

Another project the committee has worked on, with the assistance of Geographic Information System (GIS) coordinator Graham Scott, all land available for development in the community has been input onto the Stettler Regional Board of Trade (BOT) website, allowing easy access for developers to locate suitable land for projects in the community.

“The committee is about identifying gaps,” said mayor Sean Nolls.

“We identify those gaps for realtors and developers. We identify the gaps, and we fill them … I’m immensely proud of everything this committee has done.”

Another item in the agenda package, also directly related to economic development, was a new bylaw.

To further help spur economic development in the community, council passed Bylaw2147-22, the “Non-Residential new construction and/or existing business revitalization, redevelopment or expansion Property Tax Incentive” bylaw.

The tax incentive is open to commercial developments in the community who either build a new business or conduct renovations which increase the assessment value of an existing business by at least $5,000.

Applying only to the municipal portion of the taxes and depending on the value of the assessment, owners would not have to pay the extra tax on the increased assessment for one, two, three or four years.

For developments of $5,000 to $100,000, the owners would be exempt from paying 100 per cent of the increased municipal portion of their tax for the first year only.

In the case of developments with increased assessments of over $1 million, the first year would be 100 per cent, second year would be 75 per cent, third year 50 per cent, and the final year would be 25 per cent.

In order to take part in the incentive bylaw, business owners must not be in receivership or bankruptcy and must be in good standing with the town.

The bylaw will be back-dated and made effective as of Jan. 1, 2022.

“It has to be fair and equitable,” said Nolls.

“It has to support all businesses, they are the ones who got us here. This is truly long term planning through good policy.”

The bylaw passed through all three readings during the meeting.

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