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Fort Macleod property owner wants town council to offer more incentive to restore historic buildings

People who own and restore historic buildings in Fort Macleod should get some form of financial help from the town.
That’s the position Peter Maas took Jan. 26 when he appeared as a delegation at the town council meeting at the library.
“It should be for the town to consider the importance of having historical buildings on Main Street,” Maas said.
Maas told council Fort Macleod derives great benefit from its historic Main Street, but the cost of restoration is borne by the property owners.
“It’s an asset to the town to have these buildings restored,” Maas said.
Maas complained about the property taxes he was charged on his Main Street building.
Maas told council property taxes on the two buildings he owned increased from $3,257 in 2011 to $3,395 in 2012 and $3,463 in 2013.
Maas told council it was only after he bought the building that he realized there were two separate titles.
He decided to rent one building to Rahn’s Bakery for three years and then in 2014 sold it to Karen Friesen and Don Ludviksen who run Brok’N Spoke Bike Shoppe on the main floor and live upstairs.
Maas was surprised to get a tax bill for $2,917 on the building he still owns and is refurbishing to its 1907 origins.
Friesen said at the council meeting taxes on the Brok’N Spoke building are about the same.
“That’s all I’m asking for, is town council to consider the amount of taxes I’m paying for one building,” Maas said.
Maas suggested council consider a financial incentive for people who own historic buildings.
Coun. Gord Wolstenholme pointed out that council recently adopted an incentive program to owners of historic buildings.
The town will provide a three-year tax incentive for renovations and improvements, approved by the town, of an existing or new business located in a provincially designated historic building.
“It’s not really an incentive, I find,” Maas said.
Maas said if he restores his historic building he gets a break for three years but the town will eventually raise his taxes.
Maas returned to his point about the increase in taxes on his Main Street building.
Coun. Michael Dyck noted that the assessment on the building owned by Maas increased to $234,600 from $178,670.
“My calculation is, it’s right on track,” Dyck said of the tax increase.
Maas said council provides grants to The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police and the Empress Theatre Society — both of which like the historic buildings attract people to town.
Dyck pointed out the town owns the Empress Theatre, and that the theatre and museum are operated by non-profit groups.
Maas and other owners of historic buildings plan to recoup the money they invest in restoration when they sell the buildings.
“That whole profit goes to you and you alone,” Dyck said.
Maas cited the decision of producers of the TV series Fargo, along with other movie companies, to film scenes on Main Street because of the historic buildings.
“Is that not a benefit to the town?” Maas asked of the economic spinoffs and publicity.
Collar said the property owners also benefit from fees that are paid by the production companies.
Collar also said council can’t deal with the historic buildings in isolation.
“If we do it for you, everybody wants it,” Collar said of an incentive.
Maas concluded by urging council to develop a policy that provides owners of historic buildings with more benefit.
“If the core of Main Street gets fixed up, I think it’s a big asset for the town,” Maas said.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Garrett de Koning Says:

    When you sell the building at a higher price then you pay capital gains tax so you still loose no matter what. You do this for your own satisfaction but when you invest and sell then politicians rob you with taxes it is a no win situation, taxes kill investments and industry. Nice to have heritage and if you have lots of money to give politicians go for it otherwise run put your money else where.