AMO conference worthwhile: delegates

The recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Toronto was a productive one, the delegates from Fort Frances reported at the council meeting last night.
“We got a fairly good response,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said of his meetings with four provincial ministries.
Mayor Witherspoon, along with Coun. Deane Cunningham and CAO Bill Naturkach, met with the Ministry of Finance to discuss ambulance funding, tax reform, and funding for Rainycrest Home for the Aged.
The three delegates also met with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to discuss Rainycrest funding and the La Verendrye hospital expansion.
“We were told it’s at the bidding stage,” Mayor Witherspoon said of the plans for the hospital.
From the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, the delegates learned that Fort Frances is not out of the running yet for a youth remand centre.
“The young offenders centre is definitely not off the table yet, but at this time, will not be moving forward,” the mayor said, citing a 50- 60 percent downturn in incarceration for young offenders.
Delegates also spoke to the Ministry of Transportation regarding road repair funding.
While Premier Ernie Eves did not speak at the conference because of the blackout, David Young, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, spoke in his place.
Young addressed the issue of requiring municipalities to hold a referendum before increasing taxes.
“It did not go over well,” Coun.
Cunningham said. “It takes a lot of authority away from municipal councils. Why should we have to have a referendum to raise taxes?” Mayor Witherspoon finished by saying that he hoped the Town of Fort Frances would continue to participate in the AMO in the years to come.
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being represented,” he said.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•referred a request from West End Motors to blacktop boulevard along Holmes Avenue to the Planning and Development Executive Committee for recommendation, with input from the Operations and Facilities Executive Committee;
•referred a request from the Town of Penetanguishene for support of a motion requesting the Province of Ontario increase the payment-in-lieu (PIL) of taxes paid to municipalities where hospitals and provincial correctional facilities are located to the Administration and Finance Executive Committee for recommendation;
•referred a request from David Lovisa to waive a fee to the Planning and Development Executive Committee for recommendation;
•referred an invitation from the Ministry of the Attorney General for applications from community agencies for grant programs for victims of crime to the Police Services Board;
•referred a request from the Borderland Thunder for financial assistance to the Administration and Finance Executive Committee for recommendation; and
•referred a request from the Sunset Country Travel Association for a Letter of Interest from members to the Administration and Finance Executive Committee for recommendation.