Rail group asking for property tax exemption
The Railworks Coalition is asking St. Thomas city council to support its request for a municipal property tax exemption.
The coalition includes the CASO Station, Elgin County Railway Museum and the St. Thomas Elevated Park.
Coalition president John Shapendonk will appear before council at Monday’s meeting to request a resolution of support to be “freed from the burden of paying municipal taxes,” he wrote in a letter to council.
The exemption would be a private member’s bill from Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek to be presented to the Ontario legislature. The exemption requires city council’s endorsement, Shapendonk’s letter states.
The railway museum’s property had been reassessed in August by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. at a value of $1.3 million. A review of the assessment was requested and the value was reduced to $550,000 because half the building is unusable.
The museum was also informed it was not eligible for a museum exemption from property taxes under current legislation and that all previous exemptions were being reviewed because legislation had been applied incorrectly, Shapendonk wrote.
The CASO Station had been granted a partial exemption previously and so the coalition is expecting the station will also be reviewed.
“As a result we estimate that ECRM’s property taxes will double and taxes for the CASO Station will also increase significantly,” he wrote.
The Railworks Coalition’s total municipal taxes will be more than $60,000, which creates a “significant strain” on the organizations, Shapendonk’s letter said.
“It is also difficult to justify to donors that their donations will be used to cover property taxes,” Shapendonk wrote.
The CASO Station at 750 Talbot St. in St. Thomas is part of the Railworks Coaltion with the Elgin County Railway Museum and the St. Thomas Elevated Park. The coalition is asking for council to pass a resolution supporting the coalition’s request for an exemption from property taxes.