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‘Context and clarification’ on NCC/Chelsea tax dispute

The Editor,

As head of Chelsea’s municipal administration, I would like to add context and clarification to the National Capital Commission’s Valley Voice article in the March 31 edition of The Low Down (“Despite current disagreement, NCC’s committed to supporting Chelsea”).

Let me list a few of the most important facts and offer additional information in response to citizens’ subsequent inquiries. Citizens and the media would have had fewer inquiries had the NCC not insisted that the federal government’s Dispute Advisory Panel (DAP) hold its Zoom proceedings “in-camera”, thereby barring Chelsea residents and The Low Down from hearing the presentations from the two parties.

Chelsea pays for services rendered by collecting taxes calculated by applying a tax rate to a property value for each individual property in the municipality. Looking at their tax bill, Chelseaites will note that the MRC des Collines evaluates their properties. That is the law in Quebec. The law also provides methods for contesting the valuation, not to Chelsea, but rather to the MRC. In the past, the NCC followed this procedure for contesting valuations with which it did not agree.

In 2018, however, it arbitrarily decided to withhold its Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to Chelsea on 33 lots. Chelsea's only recourse was to appeal to the DAP, an organization and process entirely under the control of the federal government itself. At the time, the NCC stated it would respect the DAP’s advice.