Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Port of Prince Rupert PILT payments bob to surface again at Monday City Council session

The impact of reduced revenue streams from PILT assessments for
this year made for some focus for the Mayor and Councillor Blair Mirau
at Monday's Prince Rupert Council Session

Prince Rupert City Council may soon be adding to their recent commentary on the contribution of the Port to the city's financial coffers. 

That after Mayor Lee Brain and Councillor Blair Mirau took note of some of the details from a report to Council from the City's Financial Officer Corinne Bomben.

Ms. Bomben's notes on the night  (which you can review from the Agenda on page 79 ) were mainly focused on the amount of payment from the City of Prince Rupert to the District of Port Edward as part of their agreement on Tax sharing from Ridley Island, 

However for Councillor Blair Mirau, who was attending the summer Council session remotely for the second consecutive session, it was some of the other financial themes that caught his eye. 

Spcifically some assessment relief that has seemingly been provided to the Port from this years BC Assessments.

"I'll start by saying I'm proud of the work we've done as a team to come to an agreement here with the District of Port Edward and I think it sets us all up really well for success in working together moving forward. 

My question relates to Appendix A of your report where you basically listed the assessments of properties that are impacted by the Tax Sharing agreement and it shows a pretty dramatic decrease in the Port Authority's payment in lieu of taxes from 2.6 million to just over 500,000. 

Now for their PILT payment to be reduced by over 2 million in just a single year, obviously means that their property assessments must have collapsed. So I'm wondering are you in a position tonight to tell us what these impacted properties were assessed at last year versus this year for such a dramatic decrease" -- Councillor Blair Mirau

A report on the list of assessed values of PILT related properties
caught the attention of Councillor Blair Mirau at Monday's Council session
(From City of PR Agenda 
package click to enlarge)

In reply the CFO provided some background on how the assessment process evolved, as well as how the City is appealing that BC Assessment board decision.

"Yes, there was a significant reduction, it was a Board Recommendation from BC Assessment for reduction, we are appealing the values in 2022. But to answer your question, between 2021 and 2022, the value dropped by about 82 percent and that is reflected obviously in the PILT amounts that are reported on from this information to Council" -- City of Prince Rupert Chief Financial Officer Corrine Bomben

Mr. Mirau followed up with one more inquiry of Ms. Bomben to the topic and asked for a follow report for the September Council session.

"A drop of the assessed value of 82 percent what does that equate to in real dollars"

Ms. Bomben observed that off the top of her head,  the amount in question  from about 140 million down to about 27 million. 

That led to a request from the councillor for a follow up report for the September Council session.

Mayor Brain joined the discussion at this point with his own observations related to the differences between the housing assessments and those of the industrial sector. His commentary making for a well received view for some of the other councillors in Chamber on the night.

"Just a follow up question ... So, home prices went up on average what 30 percent in Prince Rupert this year ... and the Port's properties were down 82 percent compared to all the house prices that went up ... resulting in a two million dollar less payment that they have to make basically ... Just making sure that we have the facts straight ... It will be interesting to see that information for the next Council session for sure" -- Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain

The Report and the Council questions can be viewed from the City's Video Archive starting at the 30 minute mark.

The delivery of the report in September could bring forward more Council discussion and potential letter writing to the local paper and Social media messaging, following up on some recent themes of Council from recent months.

More background from Monday's Council Session can be reviewed through our Council Timeline Feature.

Some additional notes on the City's concerns over the Port and it's contribution to civic revenues can be explored from our past items in our Council Budget archive.

1 comment:

  1. No property in our province should have decreased by 82 percent year over year.

    It will be interesting to see how BC Assessment justifies the decrease.

    Also interested to see if other provincial port properties in BC experienced the same devaluation.

    To city hall, keep digging!