DSSAB maintains status quo on formula

The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board managed to settle on the controversial apportionment formula at its meeting here last Thursday night by maintaining the status quo.
DSSAB members had trouble agreeing on which of three different formulas to use because the decision required a double majority—meaning the consensus of the majority of board members as well as representing the majority of the population.
“Fort Frances and Atikokan can swing the vote if they want to and their interests are opposed to the rest of us,” DSSAB chair Valerie Pizey said.
The formula decides how each municipality will be levied by DSSAB. The first formula is favorable for larger municipalities such as Fort Frances and Atikokan, whereas the third formula is favourable for smaller municipalities like Chapple.
In past years, the board has compromised by using formula two, which is a middle ground.
Chapple rep Peter Van Heyst explained why he believes the current formula is unfair for his municipality.
“Chapple has been mistreated because of the apportionment,” he argued. “Our tax ratio is lower than others and we can’t up it to match others . . . also we receive low benefits from it.”
Some of the municipalities requested tabling the decision in order to consult with their respective councils. But Pizey warned doing so might simply cause more problems and postpone a decision until after the municipal elections in November.
Instead, she suggested maintaining the status quo for the current year and then re-opening the issue after elections.
“The issue is are we going to compromise?” Pizey remarked.
The motion to continue using formula two of the apportionment was carried by the board, with Van Heyst being the only member opposed.
Also discussed at last Thursday’s meeting was a suggestion by John Callan, representing Rainy River District Central, to consider an increase to the current honoraria.
“If you are going to make a change, it should be right before elections,” Callan said.
He also noted since the formation of the board eight years ago, there has not been an increase to the honoraria.
“[If you ignore it now], you only exacerbate the problem for future boards,” Callan argued.
The board asked CAO Donna Dittaro to conduct a survey of honoraria given by other DSSABs. The issue then will be re-addressed at its next meeting.