Tax defaults could build city land bank

Re: City takes possession of Oceanview properties, Oct. 11.

To the Editor,

Re: City takes possession of Oceanview properties, Oct. 11.

I have been taught that it is fundamental for any business to keep its costs down.

For this reason I can only infer that it is less expensive for Oceanview to refuse to pay their taxes year after year for three years and even pay the minor penalties involved than it would be to either spend their own capital or borrow the sum needed at commercial investment rates and pay those taxes.

How much greater must be the savings to let them risk exposure to a tax sale?  Surely it is misguided to let Nanaimo homeowners provide financial cover to commercial operators, i.e. landlords and developers; businessmen who may neither inhabit their properties nor even live in Nanaimo to enjoy yet another risk free tax year.

While it is understandable why the city may wish to protect its resident residential property owners, why should the city also provide such cover to commercial interests?

It is my understanding that the redemption of property sold at a tax sale includes interest on the price of the property over and above the costs associated with the taxes and related charges owing.

It appears the city has the option to acquire a property at a commercial cost over and above the back taxes and charges and that as a result taxpayers will either collect a reasonable rate of interest on its investment for the year in which redemption is possible or, alternatively, at the end of the year find itself in full ownership of that property.

In the case of the Oceanview parcels, they could well provide the basis for a land bank, which would give the city options in the future when development there becomes feasible.

In dealing with commercial property tax refusers, Nanaimo needs a business-like approach.

Ron Bolin