Discussion needed to set policy on tax exemption requests, Truro councillor says

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO – A tax exemption request by a local charitable group has prompted a Truro councillor to suggest creating a blanket policy for all non-profit groups.

”If we’re going to have a special tax rate for non profits, let’s set it and get it out there so it’s the same for everybody,” Coun. Tom Chisholm said during a council meeting this week.

“If we give tax exemptions to every non-profit out there, we’ve still got to clean the snow off the sidewalks, we’ve still got to plow every street, we’ve still got to provide police service and fire service,” he said.

The comments came regarding a request from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester for a tax exemption on its office building property on Logan Street.

Council unanimously agreed to the agency’s request for this year.

Chisholm said he did not have a problem with an exemption for this year but he said future discussion should be held to determine a long-term policy for such requests.

“We really have to have a discussion … on what we are going to do in this situation,” he said, adding that if every non-profit group was granted such an exemption, “we have to realize who is going to pick up the tab.”

Mayor Bill Mills described such requests as the “new fundraising tool” and suggested the town look at the policy for such requests of other municipalities.

Coun. Raymond Tynes, however, said he would prefer if the town retained its current policy of dealing with tax exemptions on an individual basis.

“I wouldn’t want to paint all groups in the same picture,” he said. “Let’s not forget, what we give on one hand balances with what we’re saving on the other hand,” he added, of the benefits that such organizations as Big Brothers Big Sisters provide to society.

 

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry

Organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Geographic location: Colchester, Logan Street

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