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Melfort offering civic tax breaks to developments over $10M

Melfort is hoping to attract new developments worth $10 million or so by offering tax breaks over a decade.
Melfort City Hall
A new policy aims to encourage large scale development in Melfort by offering abatements to the municipal tax levy.

MELFORT — Melfort is hoping to attract new large scale commercial developments worth at least $10 million with some large municipal tax breaks.

According to a new bylaw passed at the city's June 12 council meeting, after a large scale commercial development is built, they will only have to pay 10 per cent of their municipal tax levy in the first year. Each year after that, the amount goes up 10 per cent – so they'd have to pay 20 per cent in the second year, 30 per cent in the third year and so on until they reach 100 per cent in the tenth year.

The definition of a large scale business within the bylaw is an individual property subject to commercial taxation, situated within the Melfort city limits, where the owner of such property has completed improvements to the property requiring an investment of at least $10 million or more in new funds, including construction costs, materials, consultants, utility connection/servicing costs but excluding the cost acquiring the property.

“$10 million was used as a threshold because it is reflective of what a 'large business' would potentially invest in a community like Melfort,” said Rob Lock, director of community services.

To qualify as an eligible property, the construction of the improvements in question must be commenced on or after the effective date of this policy. The improvements in question may be new improvements or additions to existing improvements on the property, but the value of existing improvements or the costs of constructing the same will not be factored into determining whether a property is a eligible.

Lock said examples of potential business who may be eligible under the bylaw could include development of a medium-sized hotel or introduction of a new farm equipment sales and service business.

Subject to approval by council, an abatement of the municipal tax levy of an eligible property may be applied for once the completion of the improvements.

Year 1  90% abatement
Year 2 80% abatement
Year 3 70% abatement
Year 4 60% abatement
Year 5 50% abatement
Year 6 40% abatement
Year 7 30% abatement
Year 8 20% abatement
Year 9 10% abatement
Year 10 0% abatement

In determining whether a property qualifies as an eligible property, the applicant large business will be required to produce estimates, invoices, work orders, contracts or other supporting documents substantiating, to the satisfaction of council.

The city said it has has staff available to readily meet with businesses who are looking to invest in the community. Lock recommends that they reach out to him directly to discuss land availability, permitting requirements, and the City of Melfort incentives.