Langley Hospital Auxiliary past president and director Diane Thornton and Langley Food Bank executive director Jim Calamunce were encouraged to learn Langley City council has granted preliminary approval to long-requested tax breaks for their organizations for 2022.
“That’s great news,” Thornton told the Langley Advance Times following the council vote on Monday, Oct. 4.
It will make a “huge difference” to the auxiliary, which raises funds for the hospital with the Penny Pincher Thrift Shop at 20560 Fraser Highway.
Thornton said the pandemic has hurt the thrift shop, reducing the numbers of volunteers and forcing them to limit hours.
A grateful Calamunce thanked council for their “gracious gift,” and said it will help the food bank at 5768 203rd St. fund programs such as their new fresh milk and eggs purchase for clients that costs $1500 every two weeks.
Councillors voted to add the auxiliary and food bank to a list of exempted properties, along with two others – Inclusion Langley’s offices and Encompass Support Services.
For the auxiliary, the one-year permissive tax exemption will be worth an estimated $75,000, $43,000 of it in City taxes and the rest from other levels of government, including school taxes and SkyTrain.
Total benefits for the Langley Food Bank will amount to $22,000 in taxes they won’t have to pay, $12,000 of it in City levies and $10,000 from other levels of government.
Encompass will receive benefits of $20,000 while Inclusion will get $16,000.
Council also voted to continue existing exemptions for other properties, including several churches, the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope shelter, Langley Lawn Bowling Club, Langley Care Society which operates the Langley Lodge seniors facility and a non-profit Montessori school.
Coun. Rudy Storteboom, who has lobbied to have the food bank added for several years, argued that during the pandemic, the service it provides is crucial.
“These are desperate times and this is a worthwhile organization,” Storteboom told council.
Mayor Val van den Broek agreed, saying “this will go a long way in helping them.”
Auxiliary president Wanda Williams was “extremely grateful.”
“We are very excited and hopeful” that the proposal will get final approval, Williams said.
Calamunce said the food bank has been adding around 30 new clients every month.
“One guy was here five years ago [as a client]. He said ‘I’m back, I lost my job,’ Calamunce related.
“For some families, we’re the only source [of food] and that’s shocking.”
The decision to add the agencies will come back to council for a vote on final approval at the Monday, Oct. 18 meeting.
Video of the full council meeting can be viewed online at the Langley City website.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.