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Mayor to lobby for new system

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
September 11th, 2009

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said he’s ready to start lobbying to have the collection of Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) taxes removed from the city’s list of responsibilities.

This, after pulp-mill Celgar declined to pay its $3.6-million municipal tax bill, including $375,000 earmarked for the RDCK.

A contentious feud erupted when the city, in turn, declined to remit $375,000 to the RDCK, and cuts were suggested for Complex jobs and services.

The city ultimately paid the bill, but not without a great deal of disagreement between the city and the RDCK in the interim, and the question of who gets Celgar’s late fee, should it ever be forthcoming, remains a problematic issue between the two parties.

Chernoff said he doesn’t ever want to see a repeat of the situation, and plans to petition the province to either allow the RDCK to collect its own taxes or for the province to do so on their behalf.

“The plus (of doing that) is it creates a clarity … we won’t get into these rigmaroles,” he said. “As the tax collector, we’re the designate bad guys – on both sides, Celgar and the RDCK. We’re right in the middle, and that’s not where we want to be.”

He said he’s not sure, yet, what might be involved in affecting that sort of change, but it’s worth a try.

“Let’s find out,” he said. “Everyone thinks this a problem, so we’re offering a solution.

“I’m willing to explore anything that will make life better for the citizens of Castlegar – I do not want to go through this again.”

Categories: General

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