Hamilton’s fight against NPCA over tax bill could go into fall

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The battle between the city of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority could stretch into the fall if the parties don’t agree to mediation this summer.

At stake for Hamilton is paying over $1.2 million to the NPCA, nearly triple the amount the municipality paid in 2014 to the authority, under a revised levy apportionment the NPCA is applying against Hamilton this year.

Daniel Pascoe, the registrar for the Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner which has jurisdiction over the appeal, said no mediation talks have been set between the city and the conservation authority.

“I’m trying to figure out if they want to do it,” said Pascoe, who conducts the mediation process between parties. “Right now it is up in the air.”

Both parties have exchanged documents and have submitted them to the commissioner.

If mediation doesn’t occur, then Pascoe says it’s likely that a hearing will take place this fall. He said hearings usually don’t take place in the summer because of the difficulty of scheduling around vacation times for witnesses.

A mediation date can still be scheduled within the next few weeks, he said.

“There is a lot of money at stake,” said Pascoe.

Carmen D’Angelo, chief administrative officer for the NPCA, said the authority’s Board of Directors have given “authorization to (legal counsel) to proceed to mediation if there is agreement among the parties.”

He said NPCA lawyers have already contacted city solicitors about possible mediation, but were told “direction” was needed to proceed.

Mike Zegarac, general manager of finance and corporate services, says no mediation dates have been set.

In January D’Angelo surprised Hamilton politicians when he told them the city owed the NPCA an extra $686,504 in levy for 2015. He told councillors the old levy was part of an “informal” agreement that took effect soon after amalgamation. But since the NPCA could find no documentation that allowed Hamilton to pay the lessor amount, D’Angelo said the NPCA would follow the levy apportionment ratio identified under the Conservation Authorities Act.

 It meant Hamilton saw a jump in its levy by $686,504 this year, while the Niagara Region, which had paid in 2014 $7.2 million to the NPC, would see a decrease of $282,824, and Haldimand’s levy would be lower by $21,264.

Conservation authorizes are authorized to bill municipalities according to a percentage of lands that’s in the water shed.

Hamilton councillors immediately authorized the city earlier this year to appeal the decision to the Mining and Lands Commissioner. Politicians also demanded the NPCA provide an accounting of how much it has spent for the Binbrook Conservation Area.

 In February councillors agreed to pay Hamilton’s usual levy to the NPCA of $513,473. The first payment of $329,225 was issued in April.

Pascoe said Hamilton’s appeal to the commissioner is “rare.” He can remember four appeals that have been made involving conservation authorities, with three of the cases going to mediation.

One decision by the commissioner involved six municipalities appealing the general levy assessment by the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority in 2000. The commissioner dismissed the appeals by the townships of Manvers, Verulam, Emily, the villages of Bobcaygeon and Omemee and the Town of Lindsay, arguing the KRCA followed all the regulations properly.

The commissioner also stated that municipalities can only appeal the levy and not the apportionment or budget of the conservation authority.

“There is not a lot of case law on this,” said Pascoe.

 

  

Hamilton’s fight against NPCA over tax bill could go into fall

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The battle between the city of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority could stretch into the fall if the parties don’t agree to mediation this summer.

At stake for Hamilton is paying over $1.2 million to the NPCA, nearly triple the amount the municipality paid in 2014 to the authority, under a revised levy apportionment the NPCA is applying against Hamilton this year.

Daniel Pascoe, the registrar for the Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner which has jurisdiction over the appeal, said no mediation talks have been set between the city and the conservation authority.

“I’m trying to figure out if they want to do it,” said Pascoe, who conducts the mediation process between parties. “Right now it is up in the air.”

Both parties have exchanged documents and have submitted them to the commissioner.

If mediation doesn’t occur, then Pascoe says it’s likely that a hearing will take place this fall. He said hearings usually don’t take place in the summer because of the difficulty of scheduling around vacation times for witnesses.

A mediation date can still be scheduled within the next few weeks, he said.

“There is a lot of money at stake,” said Pascoe.

Carmen D’Angelo, chief administrative officer for the NPCA, said the authority’s Board of Directors have given “authorization to (legal counsel) to proceed to mediation if there is agreement among the parties.”

He said NPCA lawyers have already contacted city solicitors about possible mediation, but were told “direction” was needed to proceed.

Mike Zegarac, general manager of finance and corporate services, says no mediation dates have been set.

In January D’Angelo surprised Hamilton politicians when he told them the city owed the NPCA an extra $686,504 in levy for 2015. He told councillors the old levy was part of an “informal” agreement that took effect soon after amalgamation. But since the NPCA could find no documentation that allowed Hamilton to pay the lessor amount, D’Angelo said the NPCA would follow the levy apportionment ratio identified under the Conservation Authorities Act.

 It meant Hamilton saw a jump in its levy by $686,504 this year, while the Niagara Region, which had paid in 2014 $7.2 million to the NPC, would see a decrease of $282,824, and Haldimand’s levy would be lower by $21,264.

Conservation authorizes are authorized to bill municipalities according to a percentage of lands that’s in the water shed.

Hamilton councillors immediately authorized the city earlier this year to appeal the decision to the Mining and Lands Commissioner. Politicians also demanded the NPCA provide an accounting of how much it has spent for the Binbrook Conservation Area.

 In February councillors agreed to pay Hamilton’s usual levy to the NPCA of $513,473. The first payment of $329,225 was issued in April.

Pascoe said Hamilton’s appeal to the commissioner is “rare.” He can remember four appeals that have been made involving conservation authorities, with three of the cases going to mediation.

One decision by the commissioner involved six municipalities appealing the general levy assessment by the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority in 2000. The commissioner dismissed the appeals by the townships of Manvers, Verulam, Emily, the villages of Bobcaygeon and Omemee and the Town of Lindsay, arguing the KRCA followed all the regulations properly.

The commissioner also stated that municipalities can only appeal the levy and not the apportionment or budget of the conservation authority.

“There is not a lot of case law on this,” said Pascoe.

 

  

Hamilton’s fight against NPCA over tax bill could go into fall

News Jun 11, 2015 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

The battle between the city of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority could stretch into the fall if the parties don’t agree to mediation this summer.

At stake for Hamilton is paying over $1.2 million to the NPCA, nearly triple the amount the municipality paid in 2014 to the authority, under a revised levy apportionment the NPCA is applying against Hamilton this year.

Daniel Pascoe, the registrar for the Office of the Mining and Lands Commissioner which has jurisdiction over the appeal, said no mediation talks have been set between the city and the conservation authority.

“I’m trying to figure out if they want to do it,” said Pascoe, who conducts the mediation process between parties. “Right now it is up in the air.”

Both parties have exchanged documents and have submitted them to the commissioner.

If mediation doesn’t occur, then Pascoe says it’s likely that a hearing will take place this fall. He said hearings usually don’t take place in the summer because of the difficulty of scheduling around vacation times for witnesses.

A mediation date can still be scheduled within the next few weeks, he said.

“There is a lot of money at stake,” said Pascoe.

Carmen D’Angelo, chief administrative officer for the NPCA, said the authority’s Board of Directors have given “authorization to (legal counsel) to proceed to mediation if there is agreement among the parties.”

He said NPCA lawyers have already contacted city solicitors about possible mediation, but were told “direction” was needed to proceed.

Mike Zegarac, general manager of finance and corporate services, says no mediation dates have been set.

In January D’Angelo surprised Hamilton politicians when he told them the city owed the NPCA an extra $686,504 in levy for 2015. He told councillors the old levy was part of an “informal” agreement that took effect soon after amalgamation. But since the NPCA could find no documentation that allowed Hamilton to pay the lessor amount, D’Angelo said the NPCA would follow the levy apportionment ratio identified under the Conservation Authorities Act.

 It meant Hamilton saw a jump in its levy by $686,504 this year, while the Niagara Region, which had paid in 2014 $7.2 million to the NPC, would see a decrease of $282,824, and Haldimand’s levy would be lower by $21,264.

Conservation authorizes are authorized to bill municipalities according to a percentage of lands that’s in the water shed.

Hamilton councillors immediately authorized the city earlier this year to appeal the decision to the Mining and Lands Commissioner. Politicians also demanded the NPCA provide an accounting of how much it has spent for the Binbrook Conservation Area.

 In February councillors agreed to pay Hamilton’s usual levy to the NPCA of $513,473. The first payment of $329,225 was issued in April.

Pascoe said Hamilton’s appeal to the commissioner is “rare.” He can remember four appeals that have been made involving conservation authorities, with three of the cases going to mediation.

One decision by the commissioner involved six municipalities appealing the general levy assessment by the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority in 2000. The commissioner dismissed the appeals by the townships of Manvers, Verulam, Emily, the villages of Bobcaygeon and Omemee and the Town of Lindsay, arguing the KRCA followed all the regulations properly.

The commissioner also stated that municipalities can only appeal the levy and not the apportionment or budget of the conservation authority.

“There is not a lot of case law on this,” said Pascoe.