City council spares MacBride museum from paying property taxes after all

Almost a month after voting in favour of collecting taxes from the MacBride museum for the first time in 60 years, Whitehorse city council have had a change of heart.

Almost a month after voting in favour of collecting taxes from the MacBride museum for the first time in 60 years, Whitehorse city council have had a change of heart.

At Monday evening’s meeting, council voted unanimously in favour of making any museum with title to its own land – for now, just the MacBride – exempt from paying property taxes.

The remaining museums in Whitehorse are on Yukon government land.

The original motion would have only given Macbride a pass on paying taxes this year. But Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu, participating by phone, proposed striking reference to “2015,” saying it gave more continuity. It would still allow future councils to revisit the issue, if they wanted to.

Coun. Dave Stockdale said he supported the amendment, adding that it proves council can make decisions independent of what administration advises.

Curteanu’s amendment was passed unanimously.

Members of the MacBride’s board had previously expressed disappointment over council’s decision on May 25.

“We were sorry to see that end because we thought it was good for the community, for Whitehorse, for the Yukon,” said Keith Halliday, chair of MacBride, at the time.

But since that meeting, members of council met with senior management and proposed revisiting the issue.

As a result, the city is adding an additional $46,228 to this year’s municipal operating budget.

The city normally sets aside about $140,000 to cover grant requests from non-profits in the city, and that amount has been increased to $186,228.16.

First and second reading of the Community Service and Municipal Charges Grants bylaw passed on Monday, with third reading scheduled for later this month. The grants range from a low of $484 to Habitat for Humanity, to a high of $27,467 for the MacBride Museum.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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