Thursday, November 17, 2011

Financing councils dreams (Another Pot of Gold)

My fellow blogger Mr Prince has posted an article regarding the issue of taxes in arrears . At the public forum on November 9th the Mayor raised the issue of taxes in arrears, specifically the fact that this year there is over $1,040,000 outstanding. Then he went on to talk about how some people are consistently year after year behind on their taxes (which is not illegal) and stated that if they are going to continue to do this it is going to cost them more and more.
Presently if your taxes are not payed on time you get hit with a 10% penalty on June 1st plus a further 10% on January 1st, (Yes that's 20% per year) it sounds like the Mayor's intention is to increase that.

First impression is this is simple everybody should pay their taxes on time and if they don't make them pay.
It's never that simple.

I suspect that probably 50-60% of the outstanding back taxes are owned by developers that will never see the light of day again, slap them with 30-40-50% whatever you like its not going to get the bill paid they will just owe the municipality more. That issue will ultimately get resolved in a back tax sale. (Maybe if somebody bids on the property the only thing that changes by charging that group more is the need to recover a greater amount of dollars at the sale)

The second issue is sometimes you have either residential or business owners that for one reason or another miss the deadline by a matter of days. That's a problem with having a set date that you are charged 10-15-20% if you have not paid by that date, why would you pay before December 31st. If I know that I have been charged the penalty anyway why would I not hold on to my money for an extra six months its not going to cost me any more. There is no Incentive to pay once you have missed the deadline why not charge the 10% on the due date and then discount the penalty if you come in prior to the next deadline.

The next issue and this gets back to the fundamental issue in the Crowsnest Pass the average home owner is now paying roughly $2000 a year in taxes plus close to another $65 a month in Water/Sewer/Garbage plus your utility bills are going up another $5 a month on January 1st. Add all those things together you come up with $237 per month, lets not lose site of probably 60% of our homeowners live on a fixed income.
AISH pays $1188 per month, we have a lot of seniors living on less than $30,000 a year we have reached the point where they are spending 10% of their income just on maintaining the municipality.

So in my opinion you have three groups of late taxpayers:
One being the development company that will only pay its taxes through a tax sale.
Two those that for what ever reason are late on their taxes and really have no incentive to pay prior to the next deadline.
Three those that for either economic or financial reasons just can't keep up.

So if council wishes to increase the rates I can think of only one group above that its really going to have an impact on.

There is no big pot of gold here that's going to finance all those great ideas that were brought up last week and many years prior.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post Dean. I couldn't agree more with both your analysis and thoughtful recommendations.


Anonymous said...

Very informative. Something we never get from the Municipality. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think those quarter million dollar lots and acreages in failed developments where nobody can build are assessed at fair market value - $5000, so the taxes aren't that much.

I could check that in a few seconds if CNP would catch up to the twentieth century and put the tax rolls online like every other town.

Anonymous said...

what about the late fees on utility bills?

get rid of those too?

I hope your fellow blogger stays warm while he is occupying the municipal office.

Anonymous said...

Even with the tax rolls that others have, they would not put lots, only houses.

Loreena Russomanno said...

I did not agree with all of the decisions that you were a part of on last council, and I do not agree with everything you say on your blog, but I have so much respect for anyone in this town who is not afraid to stand up and make his/her voice heard. We all know there is a big price to pay for doing that in the CNP. Thanks for blogging so loyally and constantly providing us with info that is not readily available.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't the new developer been talking to council???Haven't you all heard, the new developer is going to revive the river run project...He plans on building in the spring of 2012. He figures he should have no problem getting the banks on board for financing. This is good news! I'm surprised noone in the Crowsnest Pass has heard!!! River run will be full of condos in 5 years!

Anonymous said...

Yes 6:42 and two years from now we will have a Trump Plaza on the Crowsnest Center site plus an Indoor Swimming pool next to the high school
Don't forget the live theatre out at the old power house.

Anonymous said...

so you haven't heard?? I'm an investor and we have been told that the river run project will begin construction in the spring of 2012...a 5 year build, a new owner is in place and he says he has no problem getting financing for the project no problem and dealing with the Crowsnest council as they are pro-development..The mayor and councilors must know about is happening in a few months...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment 'much respect for anyone in this town who is not afraid to stand up and make his/her voice heard. We all know there is a big price to pay for doing that in the CNP. Thanks for blogging so loyally and constantly providing us with info that is not readily available.
What does this mean? Anyone should be able to speak their mind. Who runs the Municipality, Hitler. That is sooo sad if true.
And you can see why the mess, and so many unhappy people Never be afraid to speak up. I guess that is one good thing about the "Occupiers". Maybe we can learn that from them.

Anonymous said...

Here is some interesting reading just copy and paste

Anonymous said...

YA, Mintoft..thats the guy...Certainly your mayor and councillors have been talking to him..He's breaking ground in the spring!!! Ask the mayor and councillors!!! Looking good now!! About time too!!

Anonymous said...

Anon Fri Nov 18, 11:10 said:

"I'm an investor and we have been told that the river run project will begin construction in the spring of 2012...a 5 year build, a new owner is in place and he says he has no problem getting financing for the project no problem and dealing with the Crowsnest council as they are pro-development..The mayor and councilors must know about this"

By "investor", do you mean you bought those "Mortgage Backed Securities"? Who did you hear this from?

I thought the project depended on a bridge across the Crowsnest River, requiring approval by Canada Fisheries and Oceans and other bureaucracies. Has that all been resolved?

I guess we could ask "Council", does anybody know the email address for "Council"? They are all about Transparency and Open Government - they said so in the first paragraph of the "Strategic Plan", which was concocted in many hours of secret backroom meetings.

Anonymous said...

I rememered reading this.I think Mintoft is just going after some legal costs for himself and has basically washed his hands from Bridgecreek, riverun.

Groups: Registered

Joined: 2/16/2011
Posts: 0
This was posted by Anonymous in Dean Ward's Blog, it's not dated:


I am trying to resolve various issues with Olympia.

Olympia has no interest in deferring their o/s management costs re the Trust Indenture.
Olympia is not in the business of Restructurings and sucking unpaid Trustee fees.

I have been struggling with Vistas, for months.

The $15M Vistas investors funding is overwhelming.

Had Bradley and Becker not appropriated, what I believe is, the costs of development, so no financing would be required, Vistas would be successful, notwithstanding the 08 worldwide financial meltdown.

**There are no Vistas funds to operate going forward, and for management costs, consultants and other significant development costs prior to construction or to resolve, most importantly, the substantial funding/financing for Vistas share of the RR subdivision utilities servicing/financing.
And, I have no structure to enable any new investors/developers to
become involved.

AND, I have too many other Crowsnest Lake and River Run problems to deal with.

**By my recent review of the Vistas corporate minute book, I NOW understand that things re Vistas are worse and very complicated unfortunately.

That is, apparently, B&B transferred a few other lots into Vistas corp.
**And, such lots are encumbered with a $4M blanket mortgage over various corps lots in RR.
This becomes another Restructuring.

In result, I am having a problem trying to easily restructure Vistas1 investors.

Unless Macleod Dixon can figure out some simple structure in Vistas, which also has regard to the Invesco investors, separately, it is too complicated.
And, I am not expecting any resolution.

As STONEBRIDGE gets nothing from such efforts, I have to punt.
After over a million in costs, I cannot do this anymore.

So, I have advised James today that Vistas Corp will consent to the Vistas1 foreclosure.
And, Vistas corp will consent to other requisites which reduce Vistas1 unitholders foreclosure costs, such as an appraisal and typical proceedings costs.
That is, simply go directly to foreclosure sale.

I also told James that I will otherwise cooperate with potential investors bids for the Vistas1 lands, as I can, in order to maximize recovery for investors, as it is.

Based on the RR Springs Colliers appraisal, recovery will be disappointing.
$1-1.5M, if any stink bidders are prepared to take the risk of buying property that has suspect servicing/municipality servicing agreement defaults and other development issues defaults.

I wish things were different.

Regards, jon
Back to top Report Ab

Anonymous said...

Yes I bought the mortgage backed securities...in2007.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Decoux stated at the public forum that the penalties on back taxes are going to increase greatly.
Two questions do you think they are going to give a break on the back taxes for river run while poor old Martha in West Coleman gets nailed with a $500 a year tax penalty.
Two do you think there are any more investors willing to put any additional dollars into the river run site?
Not just for back taxes, for infrastructure, for a bridge to gain access. If you came down here and at a look at the east access road,you would think long and hard.
I hate to say it because I do feel bad for the investors but there comes a time where you stop throwing good money at bad.
The only people that are ever going to make any money on that land are the people that pick it up out of foreclosure for next to nothing. Convince the municipality to waive back taxes, convince the municipality and province to provide legal protection from any further enviromental issues.
Don't you think there is some where out there that a developer, investors etc could find a much less risky place to put there money.
The lights should have gone on when a piece of land was purchased for less than $2 million then suddenly less than a year later appraised at $60 million plus!


Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the mayor or administration about this ?? As an investor I have lost 150 thousand dollars (plus 4 years interest) ...I hope I'm not being fooled again?!

Anonymous said...

I looked at the tax rolls a couple of years ago. The RR lots are assessed at around $5000 each. Adding in the hotel site, the whole slackpile is a couple of million ("Market Value Assessment"), so the taxes are not big bucks.

When I was a kid they would nail up the tax rolls for each neighborhood onto telephone poles.

Anonymous said...

investor Sat Nov 19, 12:08 said:
"I hope I'm not being fooled again?!"

You investors hold mortgages on the land so I can't see this going ahead without you signing off on it. You seem to imply you have some kind of new deal. If so, you know more than I do.

Anonymous said...

there is a new deal pending.we do have to sign off on it. I was just wondering what the people in the Crowsnest Pass thought of it as I'm sure the local government must know about it if the new developer intends on breaking ground in a few short months.This must be all kept under a shroud of secrecy down there? Thats all I can think must be happening.

Anonymous said...

Did you forget about the $500 minimum lot tax

Anonymous said...

To the investor regarding Riverrun. There is no talk at all down here about this project taking off.
Why do you not tell us the name of the company, what they are going to build and as many details as possible.
I actually hope you are right and there will be some development, however I do not beleive that this could be kept a secret so I am calling BS.Provide details or please be quiet as spreading rumours does not help anyone.

Anonymous said...

Jon Mintoft , through his company called Stonebridge Resorts Corporation has informed the investors that he plans on reviving the river run project. He plans on building smaller condos first and when the market grows he plans on building larger units. He will use fractional sales philosophy. He also says there is no problem with financing the project, no problem dealing with council, and no problem with environmental issues. He says he has 35 years experience in real estate development. He used to be in business with Bill Bradley and Colin Becker but apparantly he had a falling out with them. That is all I know at this point..sorry.

Anonymous said...

Quit playing with us if there is something real going on tell us the name of the company?
Is this part of the "moving forward" plan that they tried to sell at the River Run Vistas meeting with the shareholders and our former Mayor.
I see on Gallants site somebody named a company which he blacked out. If you are the same guy put it on here.

Enough people have been mislead on this land so either put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Developers email address...

Anonymous said...

I was reading the following legal document surprised to see that Mintoft, Bradley and Becker used to be partners in Stonebridge.

[1] The Plaintiff, Jon Mintoft, has commenced proceedings against Gabor Zinner, a lawyer
practising law in the City of Calgary, in the Province of Alberta, seeking an order setting the costs payable to the Plaintiff by the Defendant Gabor Zinner (“Zinner”) and, in particular, an
order approving the Plaintiff’s solicitor-client bill of costs in the amount of $50,207.54.

[2] The Plaintiff and the Defendants William L. Bradley (“Bradley”) and Colin J. Becker
(“Becker”) were equal shareholders and the directors of a corporation known as Stonebridge Resorts Corporation (“Stonebridge”), which was formed for the purposes of pursuing real estate
development opportunities in Alberta and elsewhere.

This is truly amazing?

Ann Matheson said...

Bradley, Becker, Mintoft, Zinner, court cases, RCMP investigation or not, 50 million or so unaccounted for, no environmental issues on 52 acres of contaminated land, bank financing, no problem . . . I'll retire to bedlam. Barnum and Bailey had it down pat. Stupid is as stupid does. . .

E. DeRoche said...

Yes, on Gallant's blog he's back peddling and being very secretive by not giving names on legitimate entries. Its public if someone produces it. Now his angle is to blame the provincial government on the back tax and perhaps "future" tax situation....what a piece of work.....

Anonymous said...

I think Brian Gallant is telling the truth regarding Riverrun.He says that there has been no contact with him by any developer to move forward on that property.I beleive this because keeping a secret in this small area is nearly impossible.
Considering there is no infastructre on that land the developer could not move forward on that property without making a lot of noise.If all of a sudden the taxes were paid up, we would of heard about it.I think this is just a big BS rumour, do not get your hopes up.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The other councilor who blogs is also saying he has heard nothing regarding riverrun.

Until somebody actually puts out some proof it is all BS.
Why would anyone send an email not knowing who the email address belongs to.

Anonymous said...

Hello River Run Vistas Investors

We will be having a meeting with Jon Mintoft for all interested Vistas investors on Saturday November 26 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The location is the Fish Creek Public Library located at 11161 Bonaventure Drive SE in Calgary.

I urge everyone to attend. This is our opportunity to determine whether the revised proposal from Olympia Trust is in our best interest.

Please come prepared with your questions for Jon. There will be an open mic where you can come forth to pose your questions. If you are a little uncomfortable getting up to speak in front of the group, then please email your questions directly to me and I will ask them on your behalf.

Questions that are emailed to me will be asked in the order that I receive them, starting immediately. I will log every question that I receive and place them in a queue for presenting to Jon at the meeting.

Although we will be making an audio recording of the meeting and posting it on the Internet, I'm looking for a very good turnout because few investors have actually met Jon Mintoft. This is your chance at long last!

Jon and I look forward to seeing you on Saturday, November 26. [Please arrive about 10 minutes early.]

Remember to get your questions ready.

All the best,

Myron Achtman

Anonymous said...

From the information in the Judgement (PDF) linked above, it appears that Mintoff may have ended up owning all the Bridgecreek companies, including their permits and could resume the project (unless the permits expire ??). If so, no need to contact the muni, and not much point in doing so until he has a deal with the investors and raised new financing.

Anonymous said...

Myron, does "everyone" mean just investors?

Anonymous said...

"We will be having a meeting with Jon Mintoft for all interested Vistas investors on Saturday November 26 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

The location is the Fish Creek Public Library located at 11161 Bonaventure Drive SE in Calgary."

They could have chartered a bus and held the meeting at the Elks hall here. It would take a few more hours of their time, but considering the amount of money they have at stake, it might give them a valuable perspective.