Friday, April 18, 2014

Challenges ahead in new year: Mayor

Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis dubbed 2013 one of the “most challenging” that he can remember while serving on town council and he feels more challenges lie ahead in 2014.
As in past years, the economical state of the community remains at the forefront, with uncertainties about the kraft mill, which was idled and the production of paper decreased, and whether mining will become a viable industry in the district.

“Council is going to be faced with some major challenges in the budget process,” the mayor noted. “But I’m sure we’ll be able to work our way through it.”
Mayor Avis explained given the tax reassessment of the mill, the town will be receiving less tax revenue overall.
“We know there is going to be a reduction in the mill assessment again this year, which make it that much more challenging,” he voiced.
“We want to try to maintain the services we have and do it with a reasonable increase in taxes,” he stressed. “That’s probably the biggest hurdle we’ve got.”
Yet, he feels it is a good sign that the mill was able to operate one machine for most of the year.
“And going forward, I understand that they are going to continue operating one machine,” Mayor Avis expressed.
“As long as that’s moving, all we can do is have a positive outlook and work with Resolute as much as we can to offer a solution that would make it viable to stay in our community,” he added.
Looking to the year ahead, he hopes to see some progress in the mines in the west end of the district.
“Even though it is in the west district, it does affect Fort Frances,” he stated. “What’s good for the district, I’ve always said, is good for Fort Frances.
“Overall, I’m hoping there is some light at the end of the tunnel, so we can just keep trucking along,” Mayor Avis added, citing he wishes all the residents of Fort Frances a happy new year and all the best in the year ahead.

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