[quote=“legal”]Travenn’s posting is pretty much correct. There is one small mistake… the City did appeal the Port’s calculation of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to the Dispute Advisory Panel several years ago. The hearing, which was a public hearing, was held in Prince Rupert about 12 months ago. The Panel ,which was chaired by Doug Rundell, ruled in favor of the City and directed the Port to redo its’ calculations. Travenn is absolutely correct when he states that the Port is not doing the City any favors.
I suspect that the Port has now sent over the $2.1 million as a revised payment for the years that it has had to recalculate the PILT levy. The City will now have to decide whether it thinks that the new methodology being used by the Port to calculate the PILT is fair. If the City does not decide it is a fair method, I believe, that the City can return to the Dispute Advisory Panel and again appeal the calculation methodology.[/quote]
You raise an interesting point about the Dispute Advisory Panel which at the request of a taxing authority can review how the PILT was calculated and give ‘advice’ to the federal land owner, in this case the Port. The process is not binding but it is no doubt helpful and all that the City can do short of going to the Federal Court. If the Port does not follow the Panel’s advice the City can ask for a review of the Port’s subsequent calculation.
In answer to comments from a concerned citizen at the April 15, 2013 council meeting Mr Rodin mentioned an ‘appeal’ to a ‘Tribunal’ and that a decision was expected ‘late in 2013’. Perhaps that decision has been issued and that was what prompted the $2.1 million partial payment.
It is too bad that the council is so reticent about making information available to the public. If the Panel held a public hearing, then its’ report is a public document.
Unfortunately the April 15 meeting was overshadowed by councillor Thorkelson’s comments about “putting the boots to the Port” and how the Port should help out or make a donation < northcoastreview.blogspot.ca/201 … -made.html >. That missed the main point which is that the Port has owed the City a lot of money under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Act.
The interesting thing to me is that the Port continues to proclaim a public narrative that states that it has the interests of the Community of Prince Rupert as a central driving criteria when it makes decisions affecting our Community. Note the hand-wringing which went on prior to finally approving the Pellet Plant.
All in all, it seems to me that consistently shortchanging the City by using a methodology to calculate its’ PILT seems to significantly counter the the Port’s oft proclaimed public narrative that the Port considers the interests of the City when making decisions…[/quote]
You express the flaw in the Port’s “public narrative” very well. It is not like we are talking about a minor disagreement. What is striking is the size of the $2.1 million partial payment relative to the $372,780 that the Port paid the City in 2012. The most the Port has paid in recent years was $416,014 in 2005 and the least was $195,434 in 2006. That suggests that the City has been short changed for several years.
The situation is complicated by the Port Competitiveness Grant to the City, which was $1,578,333 in 2012. As I understand it, the Province sets a cap on the tax rate that is applied to the value of Port lands when calculating the PILT and then (somewhat) makes up for it by giving a grant to the municipality. Since the tax rate is capped by regulation the dispute would have to be about the value of the Port’s properties.
The Port cannot just make up their own number (the April 15 minutes are a bit misleading on that point). The value is what would be attributable to the corporation property by an assessment authority if it were taxable property < laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regu … age-1.html >. No doubt though the calculation of those values can be technically complicated.
The Port is concerned about it’s image and, as you say, is very committed to a ‘narrative’ about the community as a ‘central driving criteria’. I think that the best way for the City to counter the Port’s communications strategy is to release the Dispute Advisory Panel’s decision so that we can see how committed the Port really has been both to the community and to how the Port portrays itself.