Loss of Crown corporation grant befuddles councillor

Cory
Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will not be paying the City of Corner Brook grants in lieu of taxes anymore.

The city received a letter from Sharon Sparkes, the corporation’s senior vice-president and chief financial officer, dated March 22. It came with the payment of the 2012 grant in lieu of all municipal taxes in the amount of $19,247.

The Crown corporation is exempt from all municipal business and property taxes, but has historically paid this grant. It is calculated on sales in a municipality, multiplied by a board-approved mill rate.

At Monday evening’s public meeting of council, Coun. Leo Bruce said he has always been bewildered by the amount of the grant the corporation paid. Now, it will be receiving nothing at all from the corporation, which operates two stores in the city.

“I don’t think it is right,” said Bruce. “The scary thing about this is, this is one government Crown corporation or agency. What’s next?”

The letter from the corporation was brief and to the point. There was no explanation provided, other than it was within the corporation’s right to stop paying the grant.

The city must find out from the corporation the reason why this grant is not continuing, Bruce said, and also must discuss the issue with area MHAs.

He said it is another hit to the municipality, referring to recent cutbacks announced in the provincial budget. The city has lost $660,000 in its municipal operating grant, he said.

“The scary thing about this is, this is one government Crown corporation or agency. What’s next?” Leo Bruce, Corner Brook councillor

“This is another $20,000 from a Crown corporation,” he said. “Where does it stop?”

The Crown corporation earned a profit of $136 million in 2012, according to its records.

Meanwhile, members of council raised a number of concerns with the fallout since the provincial budget was announced.

Bruce said there is word that as many as 150 to 200 jobs are being lost out of the local economy as a result of provincial cutbacks. He said the provincial government is one of the area’s biggest employers, and compared the job losses to the closure of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.

Coun. Priscilla Boutcher said she is worried about the ramifications of cutbacks to the College of the North Atlantic. She said less jobs means less opportunity for the youth of the area to find employment.

Coun. Donna Francis said there now needs to be a focus on economic and business development.

churley@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic

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  • Shawn
    April 03, 2013 - 14:06

    Imagine that, council speaking out about an issue of concern. How fitting for an election year. We won't forget council and no amount of public sucking up at this stage will save you. Your gone come November. With respect to the topic at hand, the logical thing for council to do at this point is amend the cities act that allows this company to operate tax free and start charging them tax like every other taxed to death business in this city. It's not like they will close either store as they are a huge profit margin businesses. Simple if you ask me

  • Jack
    April 02, 2013 - 21:17

    Due to the Municipal Operating Grant and NL Liquor Corporation grant cuts, I hope that Corner Brook City Hall will not use it as an excuse to raise taxes, particularly discriminating taxes on population segments whom cannot afford to purchase property such as disabled persons, low income families, single parents, seniors, and students in imposing a Poll Tax. As for Donna Francis, when does she care about Corner Brook's economic development when her and Leo Bruce have a reputation for rejecting great businesses like the modular home plant, teen dance hall, mineral exploration, and Costco Wholesale, and proving that Corner Brook is anti-business? However, some Humber Valley communities like Pasadena and Deer Lake will benefit greatly from possible increased Municipal Operating Grants. As for these major provincial government cuts, and also a possibility of losing Corner Brook Pulp and Paper as a main employer, I hope these major cuts will force Corner Brook City Council to wake up and realize that they need to diversify their economy before its too late.

  • Mary
    April 02, 2013 - 15:45

    Donna I got news for you I believe we have been focused on business and economic development for years. Its not working. The only development. you ya hoos are interested in is the. Proposed drilling at the water shed and the public does not want this. Go back to your day job Donna you as a councillor. Have nothing to offer in other words you have no skills in business and have no clue on how economic development works.