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HomeTop StoriesPenticton votes to compensate 'vulnerable' senior after home auctioned for unpaid taxes

Penticton votes to compensate ‘vulnerable’ senior after home auctioned for unpaid taxes

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The Metropolis of Penticton voted Tuesday to compensate a susceptible senior $140,922 after her residence was auctioned off to pay a $10,000 property tax debt.

The town’s resolution comes after a report from B.C. Ombudsperson Jay Chalke discovered the town did not talk clearly with the senior, known as Ms. Wilson, earlier than promoting her residence for $150,000 in 2017.

On the time, the house was assessed at $420,000. Lower than two years later, one other proprietor offered the home for $498,000.

The movement to supply compensation handed 5 to 1 at a particular assembly, Mayor John Vassilaki mentioned Tuesday.

Vassilaki mentioned he put ahead the movement on compassionate grounds.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki in 2019. He mentioned he, employees and council had been handled unfairly by the general public response to the story of the auctioned residence. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“I would not be capable to reside with myself if I hadn’t finished it,” Vassilaki mentioned. “She’s on the age the place she requires as a lot funding as she will get with a view to help her for the remainder of her life.”

However Vassilaki additionally was emphatic that the current council was not concerned with the auctioning of the house again in 2017.

In a press release, Vassilaki mentioned there was “one other aspect to the story.” He would not elaborate throughout a cellphone interview, citing privateness points, however urged the ombudsperson did not take heed to the town.

“There’s a whole bunch and a whole bunch of pages of data that we gave the ombudsperson, and he did not embody it within the report that he made public. And we’ve got a difficulty with that. I’ve a difficulty with that,” Vassilaki mentioned.

“And to launch the report simply earlier than Christmas? You already know, was it cheap? To me, it wasn’t. So, these are the problems that I had with the report.”

Chalke’s report famous his workplace “rigorously thought-about the Metropolis’s letter and attachment in finalizing this report. We’ve got not revealed the attachment right here, as a result of it contained private particulars about Ms. Wilson that we didn’t need to disclose publicly, and the letter sufficiently set out the Metropolis’s response to our report.”

Wilson, whose identify was modified for the report, as soon as lived in the home along with her mom. After her mom died in 2013, Wilson stayed within the residence and have become accountable for paying the property taxes. 

She did not pay in 2015 or 2016. The report didn’t present specifics to guard confidentiality, however mentioned she didn’t make the funds as a result of she was “a susceptible member of the neighborhood in a deprived place” who was “unable to take steps on her personal” to handle these payments.

Vassilaki additionally expressed frustration with how the general public reacted to the story.

“Whether or not it was from the general public, from the Metropolis of Penticton or from the province or proper throughout Canada as a result of I had a whole bunch of emails proper throughout the nation,” he mentioned.

“It was terrible. I’ve by no means been handled like that within the three, three-and-a-quarter years that I have been right here as mayor. I’ve by no means been handled like that. Me or metropolis council. Or employees, I imply, our employees took it simply as exhausting as we did. It wasn’t proper. However you recognize, public opinion is what it’s.”

Vassilaki mentioned the compensation wouldn’t affect the town’s finances and the senior would obtain the cash as quickly as doable.

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