Feel good about your information and become a local news champion today

City nixes cash for residential heritage tax incentives, reallocates to support non-res designations

Multi-year funding is needed to support a longer-term pilot of the residential heritage tax incentive, City of Calgary administration said, and they recommended allocating that money instead to non-residential heritage designations.

On Wednesday, March 22, the city’s Executive Committee approved administration’s reallocate the seed funding provided to the heritage program.

During November 2022 budget deliberations, city council approved one-time funding of $2 million in 2023 to expand the Non-residential Historic Resource Grant Program and initiate the new Residential Heritage Tax Incentive Program. The latter program would have allowed homes already designated as a Municipal Historic Resource to receive a temporary 80-per-cent reduction to their municipal property tax bill. It would be available up to 15 years or a maximum of $50,000.

The admin report suggested cash for the heritage incentive program should be consider beyond one year.

“Directing some of the one-time $2 million funding to the Residential Heritage Tax Incentive would only provide tax credits to a small number of properties and would not generate public confidence in the program,” it read.

“Ultimately, multi-year funding is necessary to support an effective pilot of the program.”

Heritage Calgary’s Josh Traptow said there’s still a substantial interest in the community for the residential heritage tax incentive.

“We strongly urge council to fund that in (20)24, 25 and 26. The funding was $5 million over four years. So that was 1.25 million each year for that residential tax credit, as you will recall,” he said.

“That would increase our designations exponentially with that grant program.”

Traptow also said the cash being moved to help historic designations is needed. They’ve had 47 applications come in so far this year, and they had budgeted to support 40.

Put your money where your passion is

With the administration walking back from some of its plans for tax breaks for heritage homes, there’s concern about the city potentially losing more of its heritage resources.

Major Jyoti Gondek said she believes funding this longer term was a miss in the last four-year budget. She said they tried to fix in last-minute with additional funding.

“I have encouraged my colleagues to speak up. If heritage is a priority in your ward and to you, and your set of values, speak up now,” said Mayor Gondek.

Mayor Gondek stated the core issue of the item was that the available $1.85 million was still less than what was initially intended for both the Non-residential Historic Resource Grant and the Heritage Tax Incentive Programs.

“While we identify that it’s not possible to effectively fund both the Non-residential grants and the Tax Incentive, we can still make a meaningful difference for Calgary’s built heritage, by reallocating the bulk of the funding, the $1.85 million,” she said. 

Ward 7 Coun. Wong also weighed in on the matter. He hoped for further conversation in this November’s budget meeting to consider a plan to relocate the funding necessary for both programs.

“I think we are between a rock and a hard place as to what we can do, the only option here is to go forward and do focus on bringing it back into budget adjustments in November, and hope that we can put in the base budget moving forward,” said Coun. Wong.