Town of Carrot River considers tax break for local hotel

By Nigel Maxwell
July 24, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: July 24, 2018 - 6:02pm

One of the biggest employers in the Town of Carrot River wants a break on taxes, and local residents have a chance to weigh in.

The request from the Carrot River Inn board was put to town council for consideration, and has most recently become the subject of an online public survey. Inn Manager Angela Schmitt said the business contributes a lot to the community and the board is looking for a larger benefit.

"We have almost 30 employees so we have obviously huge spin offs for the town from the employee base which benefits the town in many ways like the schools, and the recreation facilities that are being used," she said.

The Carrot River Inn, which has been in business for roughly five years, was originally deemed a community economic development project, and came out of a strategic plan as something that was needed for the community. Schmitt said the Inn is at a disadvantage because it is not part of a bigger hotel chain.

"There's never an excess pool of funds lying around and we would like to spread that around in enhancements to the business," she said. "We're never going to be this huge multi-million dollar business generating huge dividends and bonuses for the shareholders, basically any excess funds go back directly into the project."

Under provincial regulations, the inn is still obligated to pay the education portion of property taxes which works to one-third of the town's tax base. Schmitt said she has no problem paying their share of commercial taxes, she would just like a fair deal.

"Maybe a 25 per cent overall reduction in the tax abatement and that would still provide the town a considerable sum of money on an annual basis that it wouldn't otherwise have if this project had not been undertaken by the group of investors," she said.

Residents in the Town of Carrot River have been asked to weigh in on the request and help town council make a decision. An online survey which runs until August 20, includes three questions. The first question asks if the resident is in agreement that an abatement for the Carrot River Inn would be in the best interest of the community. The second and third questions deal with how much should the abatement be and for how long. Town Administrator Kevin Trew said there are some in the community who feel town council has already made up its mind based on the wording of the survey.

"Of course no decision has been made that an abatement's going to happen, we just want to get peoples' input," he said.

Trew said the abatement will be discussed at town council's meeting Aug. 23 and that meeting will be open to the public. Delegates from the Carrot River Inn have been invited to attend.


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