Township of Spallumcheen won’t refund man’s taxes

Dudley Price approached Spallumcheen council in April, stating he had been overpaying taxes on his Lansdowne Road property for 13 years.

The Price was not right for Spallumcheen council.

Dudley Price, who now lives in Armstrong, approached Spallumcheen council in April, stating he had been overpaying taxes on his Lansdowne Road property for 13 years. Through the process of selling the site, he discovered the parcel wasn’t as big as he thought it was when he purchased it in 1999.

Price was seeking reimbursement for overpaying his taxes.

After the matter was deferred twice so staff could do some digging into the situation, council voted unanimously Monday not to pay back Price. That came following a recommendation from staff who stated the acreage size mistake was made by the original land surveyor.

“It’s not unexpected, I guess,” said Price of the decision.

“I obviously thought they would have a sense of honour about it but I’ve come to expect there’s not any sense of honour at any level of government.”

Price told council in April that his property was listed on the Spallumcheen tax roll at 3.83 acres, and that’s what he had been paying taxes on.

When he was in the process of selling his property, a home inspection and bank appraisal found the acreage to be smaller, 2.81 acres.

Price was seeking nearly $1,300 in compensation from the township for a survey done on his parcel.

At the April meeting, council deferred the matter until staff could complete a report outlining summary of costs for a legal survey and overpayment of taxes.

On June 18, chief financial officer Brian Freeman-Marsh presented council with a three-page report that gave a history of the property parcel, saying it first appeared as 3.83 acres on the tax roll in 1965.

Staff questioned whether a survey certificate for the parcel obtained by Price at the time of his purchase would have provided additional information that may have impacted his decision to buy the property.

“While staff are sympathetic to Mr. Price’s situation, the township is not in a position to conduct a review on the parcel size of every lot within the municipal boundaries,” wrote Freeman-Marsh in his report, “and instead relies on third-party reporting to initiate any corrections required, or the opportunity of property owners to utilize the B.C. Assessment Appeal Process.”

It was staff’s recommendation that council not authorize payment of any reimbursement of past property taxes and survey costs claimed by Price.

Council debated the report for nearly 30 minutes at the June meeting, with several councillors stating that if it was the township’s mistake, the township should own up.

Again, the matter was deferred until staff could come up with the original survey of the property, and determine which company performed the survey.

Freeman-Marsh presented a copy of the original plan, conducted by a Vernon surveyor, who completed the survey Sept. 17, 1961, and had the plan sworn into record Sept. 21, 1961.

The copy also shows the plan was deposited into the B.C. Land Registry in Kamloops June 2, 1965.