Low-income seniors will not receive a small tax break in 2010 after Red Deer city council defeated the idea on Monday.
Councillor Larry Pimm wanted a staff report done on whether a $100 credit for low-income seniors who own their own home could work in Red Deer.
But several of his colleagues expressed concerns about whether having a tax credit for senior citizens was fair when there are other disadvantaged groups out there.
Councillor Cindy Jefferies said she knows there’s a larger population that perhaps could be helped this way, too, like single mothers.
“Are we really prepared to go ahead . . . when we’re not being fair to other people?” she said.
“We have a lot of young families with small children — I think they are deserving,” added Councillor Gail Parks.
Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer said residents could apply to the province have the educational portion of their taxes reduced. Councillor Tara Veer voted in favour of Pimm’s suggestion but the remaining seven on council were opposed.
Pimm said he was disappointed the city won’t, at the very least, collect any information from the provincial government as far as the numbers of seniors it is giving financial assistance to. That data would then be used to tell who qualifies for the tax rebate and at what cost to the city.
“People made honest comments and they voted honestly and it went down,” said Pimm following the meeting. “I don’t agree with the result, but that’s democracy.”
Council was also told that approval for a tax rebate would have been required by the province prior to May 31. If a decision was delayed, the province would have charged $10,000.
“That would have been a great penalty,” Pimm said. “I wish I would have learned about this earlier, but I didn’t.”
The City of Grande Prairie has given a $100 subsidy to low-income seniors for the past two years.