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Council approves deal with Toronto Port Authority over tax dispute

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is pictured on Friday, July 26, 2013.

Michelle Siu/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Toronto city council has approved a private deal with the Toronto Port Authority that resolves a long disputed matter involving taxes it owed to the city.

The agreement with the TPA, which owns and operates Toronto Island's Billy Bishop City Airport, ends a discussion regarding payments in lieu of taxes – also referred to as PILTs – for its properties.

The TPA says it accepted an offer from city council that would let the airport charge 94 cents per passenger to cover the tax payments.

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The councillors voted 30-13 in favour of the proposal in October, but the details of the matter were never released.

The 94 cents matches the rate charged at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson airport.

TPA president and CEO Geoff Wilson said in a press release that this approach ensures a consistent stream of payments to the city.

"The TPA has worked for years to resolve this matter. The agency is committed to pay its fair share to the city, and our acceptance of the city's revised airport proposal speaks volumes," Mr. Wilson said in the release. "Several of the major airports in Ontario also pay PILTs on a per passenger basis, and TPA has long sought the same fair treatment for BBTCA passengers."

Toronto councillor Shelley Carroll said on Thursday that now the city can collect a predictable revenue and also have a better idea of how many people use the airport – and with council considering an airport expansion deal, it is possible TPA and Porter Airlines wanted that information made public, she said.

"First of all, they want this deal wrapped up, but they also seem to want now, finally, to make a more public showing for the community of exactly how many people are going in and out of that airport right now," she said.

Ms. Carroll could not say whether council still has to ratify the deal.

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