City to pay Celgar school taxes

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 4th, 2009

Castlegar city council has decided to pay the final amount of Celgar’s major industry municipal taxes owed to other jurisdictions – in this case, just over $334,000 owed for school taxes.

In a report to council brought forward at Monday night’s regular meeting, city finance director Andre Buss recommended paying the bill.

“The City of Castlegar acts as collector of taxes for many jurisdictions who receive property tax revenues. In all cases but one, it is incumbent upon the municipality to transfer these taxes to the jurisdiction even if these taxes have not been received by the municipality from the tax payer,” Buss wrote. “Provincial legislation allows municipalities who do not receive payment of a significant portion of property taxes to defer payment of school taxes to the province until such time as payment is received from the taxpayer.

“Since the City of Castlegar has not received property taxes from Celgar, we have asked the province if we could defer payment of major industry school taxes until such taxes have been received by the city,” he added.

He went on to say, though, that the city has not yet received payment from Celgar, and if they do not forward the major industry portion of school taxes to the province by the end of the year, the city will forfeit the 10-per-cent penalty Celgar owes on said tax amount.

The 10-per-cent late penalty, he explained, is worth far more than any interest lost by paying the province now, making immediate payment a good investment for the city when Celgar’s tax bill is finally remitted.

“We’re hoping it’ll be paid before Dec. 31 … but even if it’s not then, it eventually has to be paid,” said mayor Lawrence Chernoff, adding a court date has still not been set for the B.C. Supreme Court to hear the case launched by Celgar against the City of Castlegar. “Patience at this is time is a critical virtue.”

Council voted unanimously to pay the bill.


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