Unremitted School Taxes Trouble NLSD Official

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 14:11



An official with northern Saskatchewan’s largest school division says he’s very concerned with the amount of tax money that has been collected by northern municipalities but not remitted to the school division.


Overall, NLSD is owed more than $7-million from northern municipalities in tax arrears — including $1-million in taxes that have been collected but not remitted.


It recently came to light that the village of Cumberland House owes the school division over $992,000 dollars in unpaid taxes.


That includes $114,000 that has been collected from property owners on behalf of the school division, but not submitted to Northern Lights.


McCloud finds that situation particularly troubling, but he notes there are three other northern municipalities that owe even more taxes that have been collected from taxpayers — Pinehouse, Sandy Bay and Beauval.


Beauval alone owes $259,000 dollars to the school division.


McCloud says reporting is also an issue, and the school division has no way to enforce getting up-to-date tax statements from communities.


“When it comes to the reporting side of things, we really don’t have any recourse, as far as enforcing the statements being submitted on time, or in a timely manner. There’s nothing in the (Education) Act that gives us any real authority. We have to rely on municipalities to… hold up their end of the bargain and supply that information when it’s required,” he says.


McCloud says the school division has the authority to take legal action or garnishee wages from these municipalities, but prefers to negotiate repayment plans.


At some point, though, these arrears will have to be addressed.


“That has come up at the table with our board of education, that there needs to be a point where the education of our kids is the priority. And we need to maintain these working relationships with the municipalities, but there is a point where this (tax issue) becomes so detrimental to education that we are forced to take whatever action is available to us,” he says.


McCloud says most northern municipalities have been co-operative in terms of making repayment arrangements — and in the case of Cumberland House, he says it was the leadership there that approached the school division about the tax arrears situation, not the other way around.