Council to weigh hike in user fees

Duane Hicks

FORT FRANCES—With a new year just around the corner, town council will start looking at the proposed user fee schedule for 2010 at a public meeting this Monday (Dec. 7) at 4:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre
Fort Frances Clerk Glenn Treftlin said administration and management currently are busy preparing the proposed user fee schedule, which is based on an increase of two percent, and that Monday’s meeting will be the schedule’s “first blush” with council, who will provide the direction regarding the user fees.
Treasurer Laurie Witherspoon said the town normally tries to pass the schedule in advance of the upcoming year so the bulk of user fees, except for sewer and water, are effective Jan. 1, adding that some rates, like ice fees at the arena, don’t come into effect until next July.
Witherspoon added she and town management currently are preparing various user fee scenarios for mayor and council to review at Monday’s meeting, adding it will be up to council as to which increases are acceptable.
Witherspoon said the new Harmonized Sales Tax is another factor with the 2010 user fees, noting the new tax will have to be added next July to all of the user fees that now have GST added to them.
She said the HST may come into play during council’s consideration of fee increases, noting that while the town has no control over the HST coming into effect, “ultimately, it does affect the end user.”
The proposed user fee schedule will be presented to council at Monday’s meeting, at which time council will provide feedback as to any changes it might want to see.
The final draft of the user fee schedule will not come forward as a bylaw, to be passed and come into effect forthwith, until Dec. 21—the final regular council meeting of 2009.
Witherspoon said the new user fee schedule will be incorporated into the presentation of the 2010 preliminary budget, which also will take place Dec. 21.
After the presentation of the preliminary budget, the series of regular committee of the whole budget meetings will be begin in January.
(Fort Frances Times)