The new owners of the former Rivier Academy made a presentation to City Council on Monday, asking them to consider the same tax exemption that was given to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary during their years in the same facility.
“We’re not happy with the way things are in the City and we want to change that,” said Associate Pastor and Administrator for the Canadian Revival Centre and Elevation School Terry Hayes during Monday’s Executive Committee meeting.
The public worship centre and K to 12 independent school was founded by Kevin and Teresa Tabuchi, who purchased the former Rivier Academy from the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 2022 after outgrowing their previous location. Elevation School currently has 105 enrollments but have a goal of up to 200 students for next school year.
Following their possession of the building at the end of August, CRC was informed by the City Assessor that only 36 per cent of the property is tax exempt, while the other 64 per cent is still taxable.
“With our limited funding, this will kill any ability to continue what we have done and are currently doing for the City and the region,” said Hayes. “It really will affect our ability to be able to pay salaries or pay anyone at all.”
According to Hayes, 50 per cent of the school’s monthly operational costs are funded by the Ministry of Education and the other half is funded by the public worship centre itself. He explained that their teaching and administrative staff at the school only take home approximately half of what they could be earning in the public system and with no other outside funding, the CRC will struggle to maintain afloat if the organization finds no tax relief.
“Not everything can be measured by dollars and cents, there’s such a thing called spiritual equity,” said Hayes. “What value do you put on marriages that have been restored, addicts that have delivered healings, including people that have had HIV and now have a clean bill of health, assisting single mothers, and getting [people] off the street and getting them working.”
Hayes gave Council a few examples of the ways the City has benefitted from the CRC, like the purchasing and renovating Manville Bay townhouses at their own cost and labor and building eight new affordable homes for first time buyers at the end of 13th Street West.
Coun. Don Cody asked Hayes if the CRC reached out to the Government of Saskatchewan to be covered under the same provincial Act as the Sisters, but he replied that the organization had not as they were unaware of the tax ramifications at the time of possession.
Hayes did say the CRC completed a tax exemption application within the last few weeks, but Administration confirmed they missed the Oct. 1, 2022, deadline for the 2023 tax year.
Senior Accounting Manager Briane Vance explained the process of tax exemption applications, which are reviewed once the deadline has passed. Since the CRC missing the 2023 deadline, Council will only see Administration’s report regarding the CRC’s tax exemption request in the fall for the following 2024 taxation year.
The correspondence was received and filed, following a close three to four vote by Council.