Latest posts by Chris Marchand (see all)
- For Pete’s Sake – 2018 Come Together Concert a tribute to late local musician - January 9, 2019
- DREAM project marks progress - April 25, 2018
- Northern Lights impressive - April 25, 2018
By Chris Marchand
After years of legal wrangling, the City of Dryden will soon be paying Domtar $7.9 million in retroactive tax rebates it was granted following a 2012 decision of the Assessment Review Board (ARB).
On Jan. 19, the City of Dryden lost its Leave to Appeal in the Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court from the decision of the ARB regarding municipal assessment for the Dryden Pulp Mill owned by Domtar Pulp and Paper Inc. for the tax years 2009 to 2012.
Joined by seven other northern Ontario forestry communities facing catastrophic financial ramifications as a result of similar decisions, The City of Dryden heavily contested the ARB’s decision which saw Domtar Dryden’s large industrial property assessment drop from $52 million to $14.4 million.
The debacle spurred the provincial government to make recommendations to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) to reform the assessment methodology in the large industrial sector.
The province also gave communities leave to alter their large industrial tax structure as a means to recoup massive losses. As the sole large industrial-zoned property in Dryden, Domtar’s tax rate was raised 15 per cent in December of 2013.
Dryden Mayor Greg Wilson says that the city had prepared for the end of the legal road in the matter of the outstanding retroactive repayments.
“The City has planned and prepared for any eventuality regarding a decision in this legal process including refunding, in full, tax monies owed to Domtar with no additional impact to the local taxpayers,” said Wilson. “Dryden Council will continue its work to move the City forward and to lobby the province for fair tax assessment policy and ensuring MPAC meets its duty to represent its municipal customers in these tax processes.”
City of Dryden CAO Peggy Van Mierlo-West says the city’s notably smaller organizational footprint is reflective of its efforts to prepare for the repayment process and address its other financial challenges.
“The City of Dryden has taken significant steps in recent years to move the community forward by downsizing the organization, undergoing fiscal restructuring and continuing to position the City for a positive future as a regional hub for growth,” said Van Mierlo-West. “In addition the City has in 2013, 2014 and 2015 used the legislated tax tools provided by the Province to stabilize the negative impacts of these significant tax assessment reductions in the large industrial sector to the other tax classes including residential and commercial classes.”