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June 26, 2012

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The problem isn't just the cost, it is also the cost. The lazy buggers won't park in Baker St. and walk a couple of blocks, they insist on filling-up Wilson St. and the lot below the Police Station, and are even allowed to park on the street all day for free if the closest lots are full. Just go by Wison any day and count the white city vehicles, they often make up over half of the vehicles parked there. And then council members and senior staff actually get to park under City Hall for "security" purposes. No wonder customers can't find parking in the Market Square vicinity.

Somebody at city hall must really like being on the losing end of legal battles, because this is a lost cause.
CRA has been taxing employee parking for a few years now and as far as I know every appeal (and there have been many) has failed.

This is insane.

The only way this becomes a non-taxable benefit is if the City stops charging anyone to pay to park in these lots. If the spot has some "value", and it is given to an employee, then it is a taxable benefit. The ruling is clear. I get dinged for it at my work, everyone I know gets dinged for it at their work, and everyone accepts the reality of it.

Only the City of Guelph seems to think this is a fight worth throwing more money away over. Another example of the myopic arrogance of this City and an inability to accept when it is wrong. And of course, we end up paying for it.

Their "reasoning" is that because on occasion demand exceeds capacity, the employee ends up paying for something they are supposed to get for free. We also give workers free tools, and when that that was also assessed as a taxable benefit we also paid the income tax on it too. No wonder we are broke.

It all depends on what "scramble parking" means. CRA says parking is not a taxable benefit if there are fewer spaces than empoyees that require parking.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/pyrll/bnfts/tmbl/prkng-eng.html

The City says there are 400 spaces and 700 people with passes:
http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/750515--guelph-continuing-fight-for-free-employees-parking-passes

It would be stupid to not at least try to argue this case.

Then City Staff passes should be only good for the Baker St. lot, it is at less than 50% capacity most of the day. The walk would do them good, and would free up more valuable central-core parking.

T.M. - That page on the CRA website appears to form the lion's share of the city's argument at the appeal.

I was telling Scott that if they just paid staff a little more and then made nothing "free' then it would make for way better optics. This is just a stupid way to do business, and is guaranteed to rile up the taxpayer.

The 'scramble' parking definition isn't black and white. The number of spots needs to be significantly less than the number of employees needing them *at the same time*.
Is 700 the number of regular 9 to 5 weekday employees that are all fighting for the 400 available spots? Are employee passes valid at alternate parking spots like Baker Street?

Very crafty. Manipulate and significantly limit the number of spaces so valuation becomes difficult and therefore free employee parking is not a taxable benefit.

I guess that explains why the City hasn't built the Wilson Street Parkade.

I mean, why provide sufficient parking for the rest of us if doing so would make all City employees actually pay for theirs, directly or as a taxable benefit.

I still think my idea is the best one.....
make them by bus passes.It would free up parking spaces in the lots and Carden st.
Give the fat cats at city hall some exercise
and maybe give them a in sight on how the average
person in this town gets around.


My beef is how the city spends .5 million taxpayer dollars to pay taxes owed by city employees....why would we do that? If the CRA rules against this, and they will, we need to recoup the spent money from the staff that enjoyed the benefit. Why should I pay!

Why does this surprise anyone. The city took the county to court over who controls healthcare in the region when it was clear to everyone else on the face of the earth that they had no chance of winning.
They lost of course and guess who pays; me and you.
How anyone can stand even another 5 minutes of this administration is beyond me.

Where can we find out how much these seemingly constant legal battles are costing the City?

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Joanne

Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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About Chris

  • Chris Herhalt
    covers municipal affairs and politics for the Guelph Mercury. Prior to joining the Mercury he worked at The Record of Waterloo Region and at The Canadian Press. He can be reached at cherhalt@guelphmercury.com