Windsor Vacancy Rebate Program Up For Review

Windsor's Vacancy Rebate program is up for review at city council Monday.

Since 2001, commercial and industrial properties that have been vacant for over 90 days have received a 30-35 per cent tax rebate from the city.

The rebate was originally mandated  for all municipalities by the province.

The government is now allowing municipalities to review their vacancy rebate program in order to reflect community needs and circumstances.

City administration has recommended officials meet with the owners of these vacant properties to discuss possible changes to the rebate.

Councillor Chris Holt says he's open to negotiating a new program with property owners.

He says he supports administration's proposal.

"I fully advocate for getting together with these property owners.  The people who have been taking advantage of this tax rebate in the past and really coming up with something together. Sort of like a 'made in Windsor' solution," says Holt.

He says city officials should work with property owners.

"I think it's very important that we do this and look at all these individual pieces of the puzzle together as a whole and really pay it the attention that it really needs," says Holt.

He  says some property owners need more incentives to attract tenants.

"What we have been noticing is the commercial properties that are left vacant for over 90 days receiving this vacancy tax rebate have been sort of leaning on that and not improving their property and not re-investing in their property to attract tenants. It has had a ripple effect through the whole commercial corridor," says Holt.

He's hoping to work out a deal that will allow for more economic prosperity in the city.