Council offered deal to port authority over disputed fees
City had been seeking tens of millions, but offer would generate only $1M annually
Toronto councillors quietly voted to offer a deal to the port authority last October over a dispute over fees owed to the city, CBC News has learned.
The Toronto Port Authority (TPA) is the federal agency in charge of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
The TPA makes payments-in-lieu of taxes (PILTs) to the city on all of its properties.
The city and the TPA have had a long-running dispute over the PILTs paid for their properties.
However, CBC News has learned that in October, city councillors privately voted 30-13 to offer the TPA a deal, in which the airport will charge $0.94 for each departing traveller. Those funds will then be handed over to the city.
It is estimated that such an arrangement will generate about $1 million each year for the city coffers, which is far below the $50 million that it had previously wanted.
The TPA’s vice-president and chief financial officer, Alan J. Paul, however, told CBC News in an email that "we have previously stated we do not believe the $50 million figure is in any way accurate."
Councillors say deal not final
CBC News has learned that Mayor Rob Ford voted against the proposal, but he wouldn’t talk about it today.
The TPA put out a news release last week saying they had accepted the offer, but some councillors claim the offer wasn’t final at all.
"Nothing's been worked out and certainly nothing can happen without council ratifying it, so the Port Authority can put out press releases, they do not have the blessing of council until we deliberate," Coun. Shelley Carroll said Thursday.
Coun. Joe Mihevc said that the TPA press release is "their version of the deal."
Mihevc said that deal has not been approved by council.
"I think council will want to look at that deal very, very carefully," Mihevc said.
"We don't give breaks to large companies, we don't give breaks to small homeowners, we don't give breaks to seniors. Property taxes are property taxes."
With a report from the CBC's John Lancaster