Council eyes two percent tax hike

Town council is looking at an overall tax levy increase of 2.05 percent across all classes for 2005, it was revealed Monday evening.
This would amount to a 2.75 percent levy increase for residential property owners. For those with property assessed at $100,000, this would mean a hike of about $22 to their tax bill.
The other tax increases would be:
•5.42 percent for multi-residential;
•1.61 percent for commercial occupied;
•0.42 percent for commercial vacant;
•0.55 percent for industrial occupied/vacant;
•2.09 percent for pipelines; and
•2.75 percent for farmlands.
This rate won’t be definite, however, until council passes the town’s 2005 budget at a future date.
Council also agreed Monday night to carry forward a surplus of $205,149 from the 2004 budget and put it into the reserves funds in the 2005 budget.
Residents will have a chance to find out more about the 2005 budget at a public meeting slated for Monday, May 2 at the Civic Centre.
In related news, council agreed to reschedule its next regular meeting from April 25 to May 2. This is due to the fact CAO Mark McCaig and Clerk Glenn Treftlin will be at a workshop in Kenora on this date.
The next council meeting after May 2 will take place Monday, May 9.
Also Monday night, council agreed to authorize “one-time” funding in the amount of $5,000 from the economic development portion of the 2005 town budget, as well as another $5,000 from the Rainy River Future Development Corp., to be granted to the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship to pay for family entertainment during the bass tournament this July.
This amount is to replace funds the FFCBC won’t be able to generate this year after the non-profit group was denied its lottery licence for the “Reel Raffle.”
As well, council passed a bylaw authorizing the construction of new replacement sidewalks located on the north side of Front Street (from Williams Avenue to Colonization Road East) and the north side of King’s Highway (from Daniel Avenue to Wal-Mart).
The costs of these projects (estimated at around $61,000 each) will be split 50/50 between the town and the fronting property owners.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•agreed to proclaim May, 2005 as “The Salvation Army Red Shield Month” in the Town of Fort Frances;
•referred a financial request from the Economic Development Advisory Committee to advertise in the new “MOM’s Way” brochure to the Administration and Finance executive committee for a recommendation;
•referred a request from the Customs Excise Union for support of a Canadian border patrol to the local Police Services Board and Community Policing Committee for input;
•agreed to send one representative from council or administration to the Rainy River Safety Coalition’s inaugural “Safety Retreat” scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 downstairs at the Civic Centre; and
•received a letter from the Northern Action Group requesting council demand that CN construct two secured walkways across the railroad tracks for pedestrian use, and will consider the request in future discussions with CN on rail safety issues.