Prince Albert city council has admitted a mistake was made in the assessment of Embassy Church.
Despite that, the church located at 888 Central Avenue will still have to pay $70,000 in back taxes.
The matter was finally put to bed at Monday night’s council meeting. The issue was the property, formerly a Co-op, assessed at 100 per cent commercial between 2012 and 2014 during the church’s construction phase.
Embassy Church offered in a settlement to pay $70,000, which was accepted by council.
Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick called the settlement fair and acknowledged the city made a mistake.
“Our first two years of taxation, I think we made a mistake on this property,” he said. “We’re admitting we made a mistake and therefore I don’t think there should be interest applied to that. From my understanding, they are paying what they owe us, less the penalties because we made a mistake. I think this is fair.”
Ogrodnick stressed the city wants Embassy Church to remain open.
Mayor Greg Dionne agreed a mistake was made but placed a lot of blame for the situation on former mayor Jim Scarrow, although he didn’t mention him specifically by name.
“The issue with this church has hounded me, bothered me for five years,” he said. “It started because of my predecessor. He made representation that the city would waive the taxes. He never carried forth on that conversation with the church. That’s where it started. It started from the person who sat in this chair outgoing his authority to do such a thing.”
Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp, the only one to vote against accepting the settlement, pointed out the report by administration does not admit any mistake was made in the assessment.
Pastor Meghan Mayer said she’s happy with council’s decision and that the matter is finally over.
“We came to them in honest faith,” she said, following the vote. “It’s been ongoing for so long and so I’m happy with the outcome. I do believe some mistakes were made by the city but I’m happy they are being reasonable to solve this.”
She added the church is giving everything they have in order to pay the $70,000.
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