Council approved the new community improvement plan last week. Bancroft’s strategic plan coordinator Malcolm Hunt presented to council and recommended activating the brownfield tax assistance and tax increment equivalent grant programs.
The latter program allows for a tax rebate to be phased-in up for 75-percent of the municipal tax increase for five years after the reassessment of the redevelopment. The former program freezes the municipal tax increase for three years after the redevelopment of the property. “Brownfields are usually old industrial land or land that might need remediation whether it’s environmental or something else,” Bancroft’s Mayor Paul Jenkins says.
He points to the old IGA lot as an example of how the brownfield tax assistance program would work. If phase two of environmental testing is done and remediation work is required, it could potentially qualify as a brownfield, Jenkins says.
“These are two programs that rely on the tax revenues that are collected through new development to fund the incentive,” Hunt says. “Most of the other incentive programs would rely on the town of Bancroft to come up with capital funds.”
“Our tax differential with our neighbouring municipalities is too high,” Jenkins says. “The only way that we can overcome that is by getting more people to build within our boundaries.”
Hunt says the around 300 properties may never be developed without the brownfield incentive, which means they won’t generate taxes. He says it’s a short-term win for those who are developing because of the tax break they will get. “It’s a long-term benefit to the entire tax-paying public,” Hunt adds. “More development in time will generate additional revenues for the town of Bancroft.”
“This is an incentive to build now,” Jenkins says. “Because this isn’t going to go on forever, it’s only a five-year plan.”