South Peace News
It was the reaction from the president of the High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce after the Town of High Prairie announced a one-month tax relief program at its May 5 special meeting.
The tax relief includes all residential and business property owners.
“In my opinion, it’s not enough,” says Barry Sharkawi.
“As a chamber, it’s not enough to help businesses.”
Sharkawi suggested at the electronic town hall meeting April 20 that a 30 per cent tax relief program be instituted.
“Business is slow, businesses are shutting down,” says Sharkawi at the meeting.
He adds in an interview after the May 5 meeting that for “some businesses reopening on May 14, business won’t be the same. It will take time.”
Sharkawi believes the pandemic may be more long-term than short-term.
“People believe it’s not over. There is no cure [vaccine] for it. So the businesses need a good break.”
Town of High Prairie administration calculated the exact number on what the 10 per cent break will cost: $286,987.58. It was first estimated the figure would be between $300,000 and $400,000.
The tax relief includes only the municipal portion of the tax bill.
At the town hall meeting, another High Prairie businessman, Greg Radstaak, agreed. He said a tax break would allow businessman to keep their capital to help restart [pay bills] when the ban lifts.
Radstaak closed Smitty’s Restaurant March 15. It was one of the first to close.
“The expenses are still coming in,” said Radstaak. Preserve the capital and wait this out.”