Sunday, February 17, 2013

BC Ferries gains 20 percent reduction on Terminal taxation

Up and down the coast of British Columbia, municipal governments will have to reconfigure their accounts receivables, after word came out Friday that the province's ferry transportation provider has gained assessment reductions on taxation of Terminal facilities in the communities that it serves.

BC Ferries was granted assessment reductions of varying degrees on Friday, ranging for the most part between 20 to 22 percent, a new fixed number which brings  an end to the long running dispute between the Ferry Corporation and the communities which host their terminals.

And while a 20 percent reduction may seem like a loss to those communities, things could have been a lot worse financially for budget makers in the affected municipalities.

Originally, those communities were looking at a much more significant reduction in revenue gained from terminal taxation, after assessments of those facilities were reduced drastically.

In the case of one of the busiest terminals in the province, Horseshoe Bay, the assessment there had been pegged at just 20 dollars, an incredulous amount to West Vancouver Municipal officials, who threatened to take the whole thing to court.

Other Communities, including Prince Rupert were to be faced with similar drastic reductions in property assessments for BC Ferries properties, which would have had some serious implications for the budget process of all.

When word of the revised assessment plan was released back in November of last year, The Northern View outlined some of the background on the issue facing the City of Prince Rupert .

The backlash up and down the coast to that new math, resulted in discussions between the provincial government, BC Assessments and the Ferry Corporation, as Bill Bennett, the Provincial Government's Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister brought the parties together to try and find a more workable number.

Those sessions have now resulted in a new formula of calculation, which will see a 12 percent reduction in the case of the Horseshoe Bay Terminal, but still pegs its value at around 47 million dollars, which should be a little more beneficial to West Vancouver.

As mentioned above, the remainder of the province's host communities will see reductions of between 20 to 22 per cent for the most part.

Details of the agreement were revealed Friday, in this News Release from the Provincial Government.

In the past the City of Prince Rupert has received about 46,000 dollars from tax revenue on the terminal property at Fairview, which was valued at 1.8 million dollars.

With this new formula in place, the reduced assessment will apparently result in a reduction of about 20 percent in property taxes for BC Ferries in Prince Rupert.

Resulting in a reduced amount of revenue for the City of Prince Rupert, which may require the City to find other sources to make up for that anticipated shortfall.

CFTK Television had the first of the local reports on the revised assessment situation on Friday.

BC Ferries Tax Dispute (video)
BC Ferries Reach a Property Tax Agreement

Details on the larger picture province wide can be found below.

Victoria Times Colonist-- B. C. Ferries must pay taxes on terminals
Victoria Times Colonist-- B. C. Ferries won't be able to sidestep municipal taxes for its terminals
Victoria Times Colonist-- Devalued Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal boosted to $47M from $20 after talks
Vancouver Sun-- Horseshoe Bay ferry Terminal assessment boosted to $47 million
Vancouver Sun-- BC Ferries reaches deal on assessment of terminals
Nanaimo Daily News-- Assessment settlement reached with B. C. Ferries
CBC-- BC Ferries agrees to pay West Vancouver property taxes

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