Catalyst Paper Corp. paid their 2011 property taxes in full and still insist they are overtaxed despite the economic benefits they provide the community.
The announcement that the paper conglomerate paid their $4.6 million tax tab was made at Port Alberni city council’s Monday meeting.
The money will further be divvied up among the city, Alberni Clayoquot Regional District and School District 70.
Catalyst is responsible for more than $1 billion in direct economic benefits to communities they operate in, wrote company president and CEO Kevin Clarke in a letter to Mayor Ken McRae.
The figure includes $8.5 million in payments to Port Alberni suppliers and partners; salaries and wages to its Port Alberni workforce; and spending on economic capital projects.
Port Alberni municipal taxes remain high but officials from both sides continue to work on solutions to lowering them, Clarke noted.
The city’s sewer and water discussions with the company are ongoing, Mayor Ken McRae said.
Marketplace conditions are volatile so a quick solution to municipal tax rates will maintain the viability of the local mill and its continued contribution to the local economy, Clarke concluded.
The payment to Port Alberni follows Catalyst’s $10.7 million outstanding municipal tax payment to the municipality of North Cowichan last week.
Catalyst still owes North Cowichan $397,945 in penalties for late payment, though.
Catalyst is still appealing the municipality’s tax rate in the Supreme Court of Canada in a case that stems from 2009. The case will be heard in October with a decision not likely until 2012.
The company lost its challenge in both B.C. Supreme Court and B.C. Court of Appeal.
~With files from Cowichan News Leader Pictorial
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