To start with, I understand that costs must be covered and they must be covered through taxes. I can live with that. But….
Four years ago, my attempt to establish business facilities on a serviced light industrial lot was stopped dead by Prince George, City Hall, Development Cost Charges Â $10,003, cash up front, Â to be exact.
The land in question had sat empty for twenty years since the existing raw land was actually developed with services by a private contractor (early 80’s).
By moving a used mobile home on it asÂ watchmans quarters, dismantling aÂ 96 year old wooden church scheduled for demolition, and re-erecting it as a building (supervised of course by an engineer and the City, with a building permit), after twenty years of rent,Â I managed to establish my dream of my own small business facility with some land.
Right next to me, an interested business minded PG citizen was driven away with the very same source of evil, which was Â a 17 thousand dollar DCC / tax, (cash up front of course)Â for his vision of an auto wreckers. He had at that time given up completely and moved on.
I went through the DCC’s structure with him (which I thought should have been city hall’s job) and the charges were significantly reduced by gleaned knowledge and a considerably smaller building.
LastÂ year a 25 year business man of PGÂ in the auto body business bought the landÂ on the other side of me, with a vision of being in his own facility built to his own spec’s,Â by fall. He never even got construction started until theÂ spring of the next year, and why? Because of 12 thousand dollars, cash up front,Â of DCC’s before he could turn a shovel full of dirt.
And this is fair or good for PG or it’s citizens?
Are each of us exploiting the city for greedy returns on this land? Hardly, we’ve all been hone st taxpaying citizens for years, and our only crime is to want to invest into this city, and provide services for the regular needs of PG citizens, for which we earn a living.Small business is the heart and soul of our country.
As construction starts are often cited for the placement of the health of the cities economy, one would question the punitive andÂ expensiveÂ hurdle placed on these specific home grownÂ individuals,Â and construction starts for it’s local citizens.
There is no doubt the DCC hinders, restricts and in some cases,Â stifles and eliminatesÂ this growth, and lessens local services, and raises rents,Â as a direct result.
Is it the fault of the small businessÂ or the regular wage earner who would like their own place, that the city is growing, and demandingÂ more facilities?
No it isn’t. Is it because of the overall, Â and entire population that creates these necessaryÂ development needs, and new construction?Â Yes it is.Â
So why are these prospectiveÂ business and home owners dreamsÂ singled out as “the fault, or cause” and whacked accordingly forÂ these large amounts of cash up front?
When there was poor economy, developed land sat vacant, as the existing, supplied the necessities. Now that the economy is promoting investment, development and expansion for the needs of the over all population, certainÂ individuals are being singled out, “as the cause” and “user pays” principle.
On a thirty year plan, with approximately 60,000 taxpayers, the costs charged out to one small business person in my case, ($10,000 cash up front) would work out to a little more than a half a cent a year per taxpayer. Really! Figure it out. A half a cent, times sixty thousand, times thirty.
Â And this is an uncalled for heavy burden on the regular taxpayers of our fair city?
And wouldn’t the increased taxes from that specific piece of property, cover the half a cent per person? I know I pay more than a half a cent a year here, and more than ten thousand over thirty years.
In the interest of the people of Prince George, the future homeowners, the little business people who make this city work, the DCC’s could be eliminated entirely and all in this city would benefit, including city hall.
If nothing else, if at the least, if this regressive form ofÂ taxation is continued to be employed, this “cash up front payment principle” must be eliminated.
If the City could share it’s “cheap interest rate” with the multi million dollar outside business interestÂ “Terasen Gas”, Â forÂ Terasen’s financial easement, betterment, business furtherment and enjoyment, then why can’t the City use that same cheap interest principle to ease the burden for it’s own taxpaying citizens, who are seeking only, “their own place,” in this fair city?
Â Erle MartzÂ