Former councillor candidate Teale Phelps Bondaroff applauds Saanich’s decision to assess its permissive tax exemption policy, but would like to see additional improvements. (Black Press File).

Saanich community leader calls for additional improvements to permissive tax policy

Teale Phelps Bondaroff predicts some non-profit would fail community test

A local community leader applauds Saanich’s decision to assess its permissive tax exemption policy for non-profit organizations, but also calls for additional improvements.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, a former councillor candidate involved in a number of local initiatives and organizations, said it pleases him that council wants to consider permissive tax exemptions for non-profits including religious institutions “on their merits” within the context of Saanich’s strategic plan.

“In the past, Saanich has approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in permissive tax exemptions to numerous entities combined into a single motion,” said Bondaroff. “As such, it has not been able to evaluate each of these applications on their individual merits.”

RELATED: Religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions

RELATED: Humanist group says Saanich taxes public purse with church exemptions

Bondaroff said he now hopes Saanich will adopt policies that ask whether non-profits provide services and benefits available to all members of the community, not just their members. “Private clubs should not be benefiting from permissive tax exemptions,” he said.

The question of Saanich’s permissive exemptions has entered the public discourse last year after a provincial organization promoting secular humanism questioned why B.C. communities, including Saanich, continue to grant tax exemptions to properties that religious groups own.

Places of worship receive a statutory tax exemption under the Community Charter with councils having no say in the matter. (The statutory exemption applies to the assessed value of the building and the value of the land under the building).

Municipalities, however, may grant permissive exemptions, but only for land surrounding the building. Saanich granted 45 churches exemptions worth $773,898, according to the 2017 annual report. The largest exemption for a church went to the Salvation Army Victoria Citadel with $109,635.

Bondaroff said non-profits in Saanich should be required to apply for an exemption every year, just as non-profits in Victoria. As part of this annual application, organizations would have to a community benefit test, he said.

Bondaroff, for his part, said he thinks such a test would leave some current recipients out in the cold.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
One man injured, Victoria police seek more suspects afer Centennial Square brawl

Police were called around 4:30 p.m. for reports of multiple people fighting

Saanich firefighters were called out to Hartland Road on Oct. 21 to help transport a mountain biker with neck and back injuries out of the woods. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patient with neck, back injuries rescued from Saanich bike trails

Saanich firefighters called in to help paramedics with transportation off Mount Work

Saanich South Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma commits to addressing issues at the five-way intersection of Interurban and Wilkinson roads in partnership with the municipality if elected. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich South Liberal candidate commits to improving Interurban/Wilkinson intersection

‘Confusing five-way intersection,’ needs attention, Rishi Sharma says

Oulette the Great Horned owl was spotted alive just days after her mate, Ollie, was found dead from suspected rat poisoning on Oct. 17. (Photo by Cheryl Redhead)
Great Horned owl mate found alive in Cuthbert Holmes Park

Oulette spotted in tree above where male Ollie died of suspected poisoning

Saanich Police are investigating a broken window at the Greater Victoria School District office. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich police suspect slingshot used to break window at SD61 office

Police find ball- bearing, or pellet, below broken window at school board

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)
POLL: Have you voted yet?

As election day quickly approaches, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have… Continue reading

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island this week

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Larry Whetstone is concerned about the condition of Jeffries Road, where he has lived for 30 years. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Poor condition of rural road in Cowichan has resident fed up

Transportation Ministry says repair plan under development

Most Read