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Possible Phase Out for Vacant Unit Rebate

The City of Woodstock is thinking about phasing out the Vacant Unit Rebate Program, in order to encourage commercial and industrial property owners to rent their empty units.

WOODSTOCK - The City of Woodstock is considering phasing out their Vacant Unit Rebate Program.

Under provincial law; the city used to have to provide a rebate of a portion of taxes to commercial and industrial property owners who have had empty units for at least 90 days. A commercial property owner with an empty unit could qualify for a rebate of approximately 30 percent of their taxes. Industrial property owners could qualify for a tax rebate of about 35 percent.

Now the province has given the city the power to decide the programs fate.

Director of Administrative Services Patrice Hilderley explains why the city is thinking about phasing out the program over three years, beginning in 2018.

"We're hoping that will incent business owners to rent their property and become contributing members particularly in our downtown area. We have several properties that continue to remain vacant year after year after year and we're trying to encourage a change."

Hilderley explains how the city will get the word out.

"Everybody that has received a vacant rebate for 2016 will receive a letter, we'll also be talking to the BIA and the Chamber of Commerce and as well there's a link on the City of Woodstock website where they can go on and make a comment."

Hilderley adds city staff can also answer any questions the public may have.

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