City reaches tax settlement with Shoppers Drug Mart

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The city has reached a mediated settlement with one of its distribution centers which will see the corporation pay back over a quarter million dollars in taxes.

The City of Cornwall, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and Shoppers Realty Inc. reached the deal during a mediation session recently.

Under the agreement, the property at 1330 Optimum Drive will be revalued to $44 million from $55,373,000 – a 20 per cent reduction.

The city will have to pay back $274,564.61 to Shoppers Realty Inc. for the taxation years of 2012-2016 – money it already has stashed away in a tax stabilization reserve.

According to the 2017 budget, the city has $2 million sitting in that reserve account and had anticipated having to pay out $500,000.

The city still has to settle with two other distribution centers (DCs) – Eleven Points Logistics (Target) and Walmart (Supply Chain Management).

Based on this settlement, if the other two DCs arrive at similar settlements or rulings by the Arbitration Review Board, the city could entirely wipe out its tax stabilization reserve and will have to look for money elsewhere.

With only $1.72 million left in the reserve account after paying Shoppers, a 20 per cent reduction in property assessments would cost the city another $4.13 million.

A conference call between all the parties and the Assessment Review Board is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2017.