Council passes 2004 budget

After working on it for the past five months, town council on Monday night finally passed the 2004 budget it had approved in principle at its April 26 meeting.
As previously reported, the budget passed means a tax hike of 14.67 percent for residential, multi-residential, pipeline, and farmland properties, along with an increase of 1.9 percent for commercial and 7.33 for industrial.
Mayor Dan Onichuk and Couns. Tannis Drysdale, Todd Hamilton, Struchan Gilson, and Rick Wiedenhoeft voted in favour of the budget, with Coun. Roy Avis opposing it.
Coun. Neil Kabel, who had voted against the budget in principle at the April 26 meeting, was not on hand for Monday night’s meeting.
Mayor Onichuk noted he felt “council as a whole” agreed on the budget, with the exception of Couns. Avis and Kabel, who had objections to the commercial tax increase within it.
No other councillors had any comments regarding the budget at Monday night’s meeting.
While a public meeting was held before the budget went to the final vote, no one came forward with comments either in favour or against it.
While the tax rates approved in principle back on April 26 were for a 14.67 increase for residents, the net tax hike actually is 11.7 percent over last year after education taxes are factored in.
The second alternative councillors previously considered, but the majority of them opted not to choose, would have seen an increase of 15.8 percent for residential, multi-residential, pipeline, and farmland properties, a 7.7 percent hike for industrial, and no tax increase for commercial.
Council also passed a bylaw last night to authorize the levying and collection of taxes as directed by the newly-approved budget.
In other news, Coun. Drysdale asked that councillors each sign and send a Mother’s Day card to the Ministry of Finance prior to the provincial budget being unveiled next Tuesday (May 18).
She said this is intended to tell the government it needs to develop a plan to improve child care as well as adequately fund municipalities so they can provide quality child care to their residents.
This move stemmed from a meeting between the Fort Frances Children’s Complex Advisory Committee and Ontario NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton here Saturday, where they talked about the state of child care funding in the Ontario.
Councillors agreed to send greeting cards on to the province.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•approved a break-open ticket licence application from the La Verendrye General Hospital Auxiliary at the Friendship Café from May 15-Nov. 15, 2004;
•referred a request from Confederation College for financial support regarding its eighth-annual scholarship golf tournament to the Administration and Finance executive committee;
•referred a request for permission from Wayne Roy regarding the installation of a private fence over regulation height at his residence to the Planning and Development executive committee for a recommendation;
•passed a bylaw to approve a contract for the 2004 rehabilitation of sanitary sewer and watermains to LTL Contracting Ltd.;
•motioned for a bylaw to be drawn up for Zoning Bylaw Amendment 8/98-Q-515-525 Colonization Road East (this amendment is to rezone the property from Residential Type Two to Residential Type Three, with a “four-plex dwelling” as a site specific use); and
•motioned for a bylaw to be drawn up for Zoning Bylaw Amendment 8/98-R-815 Williams Ave. (this amendment is to rezone the property from Local Commercial (C1) to Residential Type Two to permit the creation of two residential building lots).
Both these latter bylaws will come up for a vote at the May 25 council meeting (which is being pushed back one day due to the Victoria Day holiday).