Council in their Committee of the Whole Meeting voted in favour of waiving over $300,000 in fees and development charges due from North Medical Arts Inc.(NMAI). Only Councillors Brian Darling and Larry Sherwin opposed the waiver. The CTA is asking all Cobourg taxpayers to contact the Councillors who voted for the waiver of development charges & fees and let them know that you are opposed to the waiver. The final vote for this waiver will take place at the regular Council meeting on December 7, 2015. Here is the Councillors Contact Information.
Here is a summary of the facts:
- NMAI is a not-for-profit corporation
- It is not a registered charity recognized by Revenue Canada and are not able to provide tax receipts for donations
- NMAI’s head office is not even located in Cobourg.
- Northumberland Hills Hospital and Northumberland Medical Arts Inc. are two distinct and separate entities. The only commonality is that the Medical Arts building will sit on land leased from the hospital
- NMAI has promised to donate any profits to the Hospital. How much and when or even if there will be profits to donate is not assured in any way.
- The $300,000 requested is about three times the town’s current annual grant to Northumberland Hills Hospital and is larger than the total of all Community Grants in 2014 including the grant to the hospital..
- Granting a fee waiver to NMAI may be used as a precedent for other businesses requesting waivers for medically related or other types of facilities.
- Due to Provincial legislation, the $300,000 waived must be made up from other revenue. The amount is equal to about 1.5% of total property tax revenue in Cobourg.
- $3,056 in plumbing-permit fees must be paid by the Town of Cobourg to Northumberland County regardless of the waiver.
- In the past, Habitat for Humanity received only a 50% waiver of development fees, even though they are a registered charity. NMAI is not a registered charity.
Councillors are willing to forego much needed contributions from the Town to the Hospital in favour of providing money to NMAI. In Northumberland Today, Tuesday, December 1, 2015, Mayor Brocanier and Councillor McCarthy are quoted as saying:
- “Even if we have to forgo contributions to the [Hospital] capital equipment, it is the right thing to do.” –Mayor Brocanier
- “I believe this is a very, very important project, and I personally support 100% waiving the fees. If it affects our levels of donation to the (hospital) foundation, so be it.” –Debra McCarthy
This was not a unanimous decision by Council. Councillors Darling and Sherwin cared enough about taxpayers and not jeopardizing normal grants to the Hospital to vote “No”.
Debra McCarthy and Ken Strauss are to be John Hill’s guest on this Friday’s (December 4) “Week in Review” on 89.7 FM. John Hill has invited the public to send in questions for his guests. You can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are two of the radio ads the CTA is running on 89.7 FM on this very important issue.