PRPA gives City of PR $2.1 Million


#1

The Prince Rupert Port Authority has given the City of Prince Rupert a cash payment of $2.1 Million.

thenorthernview.com/news/233016551.html

That should hopefully go a long way in helping the financial crisis that is ongoing at City Hall.

Hopefully these types of contributions from the Port continue to be made to the City…they truly need all the help they can get.


#2

Maybe the PRPA should take over Citywest, teach them how to pay money to the city


#3

Now they can hire more worker’s


#4

Misleading headline…sounds like the port was doing something wonderful instead of just paying part of what we are owed!!!


#5

Lol eh


#6

I thought this was a contribution to the city…apparently it is for re-assessed property taxes on their industrial properties that is DUE to the city.

Apparently this is only part of the amount.


#7

The Port properties are Federally regulated lands meaning the city is due … nothing!!! Instead of paying “property tax”, the Port and the City come to a mutual amount in lieu of those taxes that the City thinks the Port owes them. What the City feels and what the Port feels are appropriate amounts obviously differs. This payment was made in good faith by the Port and with the City in such financial ruin, it is easy to see why they took it. It is an ongoing process. Of course the City is going to say it is “owed” this money. Have the Port and the City ever agreed on anything?


#8

it is money owed, the port is appealing how much money they have to pay in lieu of taxes, it is based on what the value of their port lands is worth. The port thinks the land is worth less so they have not paid any property taxes yet, so the amount they paid is part of what is owed according to the assesed value prior to the appeal.


#9

It’s a bit more complicated than you suggest. By paying the City $2.1 million the Port board is not doing the City a favour or out of the kindness of its heart helping out because the City has financial problems.

Properties owned by the federal Crown (including Crown corporations and agencies) are not taxable. The City cannot make a claim under the Local Government Act for unpaid taxes from a federal entity, take ownership if the taxes are unpaid and then sell the lands to recover the arrears, as it did for instance with Watson Island.

But that does not mean that the City is “due … nothing!!!”

The Port Authority is obliged to pay a grant in lieu of taxes, not under Provincial law and the City’s tax bylaws, but under a federal statute, the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act < laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/m-13/index.html >.

The Port must pay a grant that is “fair and equitable”, which effectively means that it must pay the same as it would owe if the Port was a private land owner. The board decides what it should pay, but that does not mean that it can act arbitrarily. It must act reasonably. If it doesn’t the City can petition the Federal Court to review how the board calculated the grant and if the board got it wrong the decision would be quashed and the board would be ordered to reconsider the matter.

It think that pretty much captures the situation. How much is owed depends on the applicable tax rates and the assessed values of the lands. Hopefully the matter will be resolved so that the City does not have to seek a judicial review.


#10

It is a complex issue as while it is on federal land, the port does use city infrastructure and services. For example, if there was a fire, would the PR fire department have to respond? If yes, why should they if the Port does not contribute? RCMP services… Etc…


#11

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. In essence the City and Port are negotiating what is a “fair” PILT payment method.

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…


#12

[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.

[quote=“legal”]
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.


#13

the funny thing about this though is that the port made it look like they were giving the city money not owed to them, ie: doing them a favour, instead of saying they were paying part of their grants that they owed the city for 2013, hey Krusel optics is everything for the port, but paying what the port owes is more important to the citizens of Rupert.


#14

Coincidentally, this is approximately the same amount the tax payers of this town have lost in property value, (collectively , all together in total) due to the pellet plant.


#15

Still crying about your worst investment decision?


#16

#17

Its not a pellet plant…its a pellet handling facility . Totally different animal.


#18

and funny thing at last council meeting the port was thanked for paying the 2.1 million they owe the city. So let me get this straight you thank a deadbeat that still owes you money, maybe they should have said thank you for giving us partial payment now where is the rest of the money you owe. All those taxpayers that paid their taxes on time when did they get thanked? STOP SUCKING UP TO THE PORT, yes they create jobs in this town which is good but they owe you money suck up to them when they pay off their grants they owe you


#19