|Today's date: Monday May 20, 2013||Vol 46 Issue 20|
We Cover The County...
Maieron pays over $36,000 in outstanding taxes to avoid property sale
by Mike Robinson
The taxes have been paid.
For Mayor Lou Maieron, the issue was about his actions as a town resident and saving a woodlot.
On Sept. 4, Erin councillors chose not to consider a proposed 90-day extension regarding tax arrears on a 17-acre property deeded to Maieron several years ago.
Maieron confirmed later that week the tax arrears were paid to avoid a tax sale of the property.
Earlier this summer, the mayor generated some controversy appearing as a delegation before council. At that time, Maieron appeared with his lawyer Kevin Sherkin
However on Sept. 4, he appeared before council as a delegation once more on the same matter, but this time spent nearly a half hour arguing his case without his lawyer at the table.
Before Maieron could speak, councillor John Brennan asked for clarification as to what was being proposed.
At that point, Maieron believed a number of options could be considered - including granting him the property free and clear and the option of a 90-day period to revisit the issue.
The resolution was to receive Lou Maieron of Silver Creek Aquaculture, requesting a deed free and clear or a 90-day extension of the tax sale for all parties involved regarding block 56.
Brennan stressed that while Maieron would be allowed to make a presentation, council would not speak to the issue because of potential litigation issues.
Maieron said any councillor with an issue can appear before council.
Although he is the mayor, Maieron said he also has the right to protect his own family interests.
“I certainly don’t want to spend any more of my money on this matter, and certainly not taxpayer money.”
He understood there was an impasse, and he was working to overcome that.
Maieron explained that he went to the OMB in 1997 to protect the quantity and quality of his water.
During the six-week time frame, Maieron said an agreement was worked out with the developer.
That settlement involved Maieron withdrawing his concerns in exchange for the block of land adjacent to his trout farm as well as a monitoring program on the woodlot.
The land was to provide a buffer for potential environmental impacts, he said. However, there is now a tax sale looming, Maieron noted.
He said he’d believed the land was received free and clear without encumbrances.
Maieron claimed the developer had not paid taxes on the parcel of land since 2004.
“We never received a tax bill,” the mayor told council.
Maieron explained “we are the deeded owners, the developers are the registered owners.”
As such, he said it was the developers and not himself who received various assessment notices.
“We were not aware of this until we were told about the tax sale and all this money owing,” Maieron said.
He added the only condition required of him to get the deed was to conduct a woodlot management plan over a five-year period.
Maieron maintained there was nothing in his agreement with the developer as to when he would begin picking up the taxes. He also had concerns about the town requirement for an easement.
Maieron said if the town allows the tax sale to go through, the property still remains an important buffer zone and, “we would act to maintain our interests.”
He said the 90-day extension would allow everyone a chance to resolve the matter.
“Everyone has played a role in this,” Maieron maintained.
He said the town has imposed an easement which was never agreed to, adding, “We certainly want to get this resolved.”
But Maieron also questioned the assessment of the property for taxation - which although a woodlot - was taxed as a residential property until 2010.
He said he never received the deed for the property until 2006 and was about to register it until he read the easement requirements.
In his lengthy presentation, Maieron said he simply wanted council to have the complete picture.
“It is not me asking for consideration of the taxes - they were never assessed to me. These are the developer’s taxes,” Maieron said.
He also said he is still concerned with the easement requested by the municipality (Erin). He questioned why the town was interfering if the issue is because the pond needs to be fixed.
After an in-camera discussion, the rest of Erin council decided to proceed with a public sale of the property if payment is not received by Sept. 6, denying Maieron’s request for a 90-day extension.
Maieron declared a conflict of interest and left the table before the item was reported.
Brennan said council has decided since the statutory requirements of the Municipal Act had not been met by the proposed bylaw (requesting the 90 day extension), “This bylaw will not be considered.”
A report by director of finance Sharon Marshall stated any person could have the tax arrears certificate cancelled by paying the town the full cancellation price of $36,106.
The price covers tax arrears owing, current taxes, interest, penalties and all reasonable costs incurred by the municipality.
In regards to the tax arrears on the 17-acre woodlot, Maieron noted, “One way or another I’m going to preserve this block, because it’s important to me.”
In an interview late last week, Maieron said the outstanding taxes assessed to the developer, were paid by the Sept. 6 deadline.
On Sept. 10, town clerk Kathryn Ironmonger confirmed Maieron made the payment to the municipality.
September 14, 2012
The Wellington Advertiser
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