The Josie Hotel employs up to 130 staff during peak levels in the year. Photo: The Josie Hotel

The Josie Hotel employs up to 130 staff during peak levels in the year. Photo: The Josie Hotel

Rossland city council votes against giving tax exemption to The Josie Hotel

Council said it would be unfair to give exemption to one business and not another

Rossland city council has decided not to renew a five-year revitalization tax exemption for The Josie Hotel.

The initiative provides tax exemptions for businesses owners in Rossland that are either new or completing substantial improvements to their property.

Mayor Kathy Moore said there were a couple reasons for the unanimous decision.

“We have a lot of businesses struggling right now and we didn’t feel it was fair to give the benefit to one business and not another,” said Moore.

“Also, when you give a tax exemption or even a partial one to a business, other businesses and residential taxpayers pick up the slack.”

When the hotel first applied for the tax exemption in 2015, a bylaw put in place in 2010 allowed the hotel to reapply for it five years later. No businesses have ever received an extension.

Now, future applications have been deferred until more discussions are held around an official community plan review.

Moore said the tax exmption was originally meant for businesses that agreed to make improvements that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Despite the decision, Tourism Rossland executive director Andrew Lukacs still supported the tax exemption for the hotel.

“Due to construction delays, the opening of our community’s new boutique hotel did not happen until late Nov. of 2018,” said Lukacs in an open letter to council.

“As such, The Josie Hotel has only been able to take full advantage of this program for less than two years of operation.”

Red Mountain president Don Thompson also voiced his support for the hotel.

“The Josie has consistently partnered with Tourism Rossland, Red Mountain Resort and other local tourism stakeholders to bring new business and guests to our city and region,” said Thompson.

“Renewal of the taxation exemption certificate will assist in placing funds where they are needed most: The economic recovery of The Josie and our community.”

The Josie Hotel employs 130 staff at peak levels and contributes over $2 million to Rossland annually, according to a Destination Canada document on the council agenda.

READ MORE: City of Rossland cancels first open-air bazaar event


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connor.trembley@castlegarnews.com

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