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EPC approves new billboard rules, holds off on tax hike

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Mayor Sam Katz's inner circle has approved a package of new regulations governing outdoor advertising -- except for taxes on billboards and digital signs.

City council's executive policy committee voted this morning to approve outdoor-advertising regulations that ban digital moving type - that is, scrolling words on electronic signs - and creates other restrictions on animated signs.

But EPC held off on approving a billboard-tax hike that would have increased the tax burden on the average sign to $1,140 from $350.

The move followed a week of complaints by billboard companies Pattison Outdoor and CBS Outdoor, who called the proposed 380-per-cent tax hike unfair and excessive.

EPC voted 5-1 to approve the overall plan but defer changes to the taxes to early 2013, after the industry is consulted.

Council property committee chairman Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) suggested the delay in order to ensure any hike would not adversely affect business. Last week, he said the outdoor-advertising was undertaxed.

Pattison sales director Joanne Koop said her industry expects to pay more – just not almost four times more than it currently pays in taxes. She said she was pleased to see EPC makes allowances for her concerns.

Digital-sign companies such as Zero Din, however, remain disappointed about the overall package of regulations.

Couns. Browaty, Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands), Dan Vandal (St. Boniface), Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) and Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) voted in favour of the plan.

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt voted against it, while Mayor Sam Katz recused himself from the debate and vote because his Winnipeg Goldeyes operate a digital sign outside Shaw Park.

The proposal comes before council as a whole on Dec. 12.

 

 

History

Updated on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:07 AM CST: Updated and new headline

10:57 AM: Updated

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