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Decision to exempt property tax for Sault Star building deferred

by News Desk
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The building’s current owners want a tax exemption, but in a unanimous vote the city council asked for a report from staff on whether it should be allowed.

An application for a city tax exemption for Soosterville’s current owners has been postponed until next month as city officials draft a report on the matter.

Site at 145 Old Garden River Road. While still privately owned by DiTommaso Investments, it is currently undergoing his $18 million+ taxpayer-funded renovation. When complete, it will be the new home of Sault Area Hospital’s Residential Withdrawal Management and Safe Beds site.

Last year, it announced that $343,000 of operating capital would be used to pay rent for the site. Sault MPP Ross Romano was recently told Suit TodayIn addition to over $18 million in taxpayer dollars spent upgrading the site, DiTommmaso Investments earned $3.43 million in rent in the first ten years of the 20-year lease, with increases over the next ten years. is still unknown.

On Monday, the city council was asked to approve a number of tax exemptions for properties in the city, including the former Sooster Building.

Second District Councilman Luke Dufour’s motion asks city officials to postpone the decision to exempt only that property and report it to the legislature.

Dufour said the entire community is monitoring and waiting for mental health and addiction treatment, while other municipalities in northern Ontario are receiving increased health funding from the province.

“Why is the rest of northern Ontario getting state health care and increasing mental health and addiction frontline services, while in Sault Ste. Are we just making private lease payments and all the while front-line programs like the Parallel Disease Intensive Care Program are being curtailed for lack of sustainable funding?” asked Dufour. .

He pointed out that health care is the domain of state governments and that under normal circumstances the city has little influence on the issue.

“That’s true, but with this tax exemption, there is a slim chance to speak to these concerns and oppose a deal for taxpayers who put more new money into private development than frontline services. said Dufour.

He has asked city officials to investigate the rights and responsibilities the city has in granting or denying the requested tax exemption.

“Our community needs to put these funds into frontline services.

First District Councilor Sandra Hollingsworth, who voted in favor of the motion, said it was important to fight for the community.

“As a nurse who has worked with people with mental health and addiction and helped them through difficult times, this means a lot to me,” Hollingsworth said.

Ward 5 councilor Corey Gardi said he was curious as to whether the hospital would be in jeopardy if tax exemptions were not granted.

He wondered aloud why the state government had not approved a request for a facility that five years earlier had planned to spend $11 million to provide more beds.

“Instead of approving $11 million in capital so that Soor Area Hospitals can have their own facilities, the state has approved $18 million in capital to improve private sector buildings,” Gardi said. says. “So the state ended up paying her $7 million more to get a smaller facility and put Sault Area Hospital in a position where they have to pay rent.”

“The $360,000 the state ultimately approved is rent, and $360,000 less Sioux Regional Hospital has to put into frontline care providers to provide people with the care they need,” he said. he added.

The motion passed unanimously. A report from city officials will be presented at the December 12 city council meeting.

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