By Andru McCracken

Tony Bielec, General Manager of the Best Western Inn and Suites, urged council to help businesses out by minimizing tax increases and by scrutinizing every line item during the upcoming budgeting session.

“I’m here representing the Valemount Chamber of Commerce as well as Best Western Valemount Inn and Suites. 2020 has been the most challenging year in recent history. [I hope] COVID considerations and concessions are being made for the upcoming year.”

Bielec was looking for support from council to help minimize property taxes in the coming year.

“Local businesses have seen a substantial loss in revenue. We need you, as the local elected government, to completely back us,” he said.

Bielec said restaurants have only been able to operate at 50% capacity and some have seen a 30% drop in revenue.

“The accommodation sector was hit equally as hard,” he said.

Bielec said visits over the May long weekend were 35% of normal.

And in the meantime hotels have seen an increase in the valuation of their properties.

One business saw a 35% increase in its valuation and another 58%. For the two businesses in question, that could be $22,000 and $26,000 in additional taxes in a year when their business models have been devastated.

“This [extra tax burden] obviously ultimately derives from our already dwindling bottom line and coupled with increasingly costly COVID protocols, we no longer have an attractive business model,” he said.

“This council has control of overall taxes applied on a yearly basis. What I’m asking for this evening is consideration on how we will budget in the forthcoming years and beyond,” he said. “Our local business community needs your help. To remain viable will be determined on how we are taxed in the years coming. Every dollar that you can save will decrease the tax burden on local business.”