ONGOING | CKTB's coverage of the St. Catharines CIP decision
St. Catharines city council will not be reopening the debate on a tax rebate application for the former Lincoln Fabrics building in Port Dalhousie.
Last night, council voted on whether or not they would reconsider their decision to deny the CIP to the Port Dalhousie Harbour Club.
According to the city's website, CIP, or Community Improvement Plan, is a city program that offers tax incentives for development projects.
It is a financial incentive program intended to offset a portion of the costs that are incurred by property owners that undertake redevelopment projects.
The vote came short of the two-thirds majority needed to reconsider the decision to deny the rebate: 8 councillors voted for, 5 against.
Mayor Walter Sendzik spoke after the vote, expressing his disappointment at council's decision.
On CKTB, Sendzik spoke with Tom McConnell and echoed his frustrations.
He says council has a responsibility to the corporation to make sure that their processes are fair and transparent.
Sendzik says last night's discussion about the reconsideration was an opportunity to shed more light on the decision they had already made.
If the reconsideration had gone through, Sendzik says it would have let council explain why they approved one CIP (for a neighbouring property development) and not the other.
Without the reconsideration, Sendzik says council looks like they're picking winners and losers.
Sheldon D. Rosen is President of the Port Dalhousie Harbour Club, which is redeveloping the Lincoln Fabrics building.
In an interview with CKTB, Rosen says the CIP program would be beneficial to the city as a whole.
Rosen says his staff worked with city employees prior to putting shovels in the ground to ensure the project met CIP criteria and they would be eligible.
He says the situation is similar to you buying a house and working out a mortgage with the bank, and then finding out you owe more money at closing time.
The developer says the tax break would have helped 'level the playing field' given the amount of problems they have faced at the site.
Rosen says council just 'doesn't get it'.
President of the Niagara Home Builders Association Tony Alfieri spoke at council, and tells CKTB the decision doesn't make sense since a neighbouring project by Rankin received a tax break.
Alfieri says the councillors that voted against it have diminished the tax dollars that will come into the tax base.
St. Catharines Councillor for Port Dalhousie Bruce Williamson is one of five that voted against reconsidering the CIP for Lincoln Fabrics, and he joins Larry Fedoruk live on air at 5:15pm.
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