Not looking good for City as Judge holds off decision on taxes

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Lawyers for the City of Sault Ste. Marie left empty handed Wednesday after appearing before a judge making the case on why Essar Steel Algoma should have to pay $11 million that was owed to the city before the steel maker  sought protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act in November 2015.

The City is currently owed $26 million and climbing. Based on its current property assessment, the steel company’s tax debt could grow to $29 million by September of this year.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie will have to wait a little longer to see if a judge will order Essar Steel Algoma to pay its property taxes.

The court monitor reported that the steel company’s DIP lenders oppose the property tax payments arguing that Essar Steel Algoma needs cash on hand of about $30 million to keep the company operating. The company also needs funds to rebuild one of its four stoves.

Lawyers argue that Essar Steel Algoma’s assessment remains before an appeals court for taxes from 2014-2016, meaning that the $26 million owed could be reduced if the steel maker is successful in its property assessment appeal.

Lawyers for the City told the judge the community needs the tax payments to keep city services operating without the need of drastic cuts and layoffs. Another option is raising taxes for residents by a whopping 22 percent next year if the tax money isn’t paid.

The waiting game continues as  Justice Frank Newbould  will  render  his decision in writing to CAO Al Hosrman within seven to ten days.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Time to trim the fat at city Hall, ask yourself,how many people have hired to do what he did,that’s just one spot their are many more Departments?

  2. Cue the whining. The city has been living off the tax payments of a company that has been in serious decline for decades. The fact they have never tried to mitigate against this situation shows how little council thinks forward. They all use the trendy buzzwords and talk about “efficiencies” and the like but hey have never addressed the elephant in the room. Which is very apparent in that all they can muster is having lawyers try to petition the court for money owed. What about a plan that right sizes spending to revenue based on diminished steel plant. Where is that thinking? No where. Council is and always has been filled with small thinkers.

  3. He doesn’t give a pinch of coon shit about this city he is retiring in three weeks (partially to avoid a law suit against him) and will ride off into the sunset with pockets full of cash, laughing all the way to the bank.
    It’s such a sham it’s sickening.

  4. Lets hope the judge will release at least some funds to assist the city through this crisis. Some money is better than no money.

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