To the Editor,
Re: City joins appeal of B.C. Ferries land assessment, Nov. 22.
The recent assessment reductions for ferry terminals poses an interesting quandary.
One could argue if the ferry system is part of the highway network, it should not have to pay municipal taxes.
Highways that run through cities are not assessed and taxed, even though they use municipal facilities such as firefighters, police, water and sewer services.
But if you follow that argument, then the ferries should be free for passengers, and vehicles should either be free or charged a nominal toll. Neither is currently the case.
On the other hand, since the ferry system is a large corporation, created by the provincial government, footing the bill for these costs should not rest with local municipalities.
If ferry terminal facilities are deemed to have no assessed value, then at least the municipality should be entitled to grants in lieu of taxes like Ottawa gives for federal infrastructure.
The Parliament buildings are not assigned an assessed value, since they can never be sold, and therefore there is no historical prices for comparison. To solve this problem, each year the federal government pays the City of Ottawa money to cover the costs the city incurs on its behalf.
The ferry corporation should do the same, if normal assessment values do not apply.
Expecting local taxpayers to cover these costs is unreasonable.
S. I. Petersen