Rail group ask­ing for prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - LAURA BROADLEY lbroadley@post­media.com

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.

FILE PHOTO

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.

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