Fort Frances Town Council in review

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer
memara@fortfrances.com

The Fort Frances council had their last biweekly meeting of March on Monday. During the meeting, both the recommendations to rename Colonization Roads and to amend Erin Crescent lot prices were approved. A budget presentation was also given by treasurer Dawn Galusha.

Colonization Road

Council unanimously approved the recommendation put forward by the Planning and Development Executive Committee to rename Colonization Road East and Colonization Road West. While some council members disagreed on the process, they all agreed that this change is a long time coming.

The approval of this recommendation marks the 30-day period in which the town will welcome members of the public to provide input as well as propose street names. Cody Vangel, municipal planner, put out a public notice requesting that when a name is proposed, the rationale and supporting information be submitted along with the suggested name.

All input provided, along with the suggested names will be summarized and presented to the Planning and Development Executive Committee to narrow the selection of proposed names to five.

The town will then host a public meeting on April 26, 2021 where the five names will be presented to council for additional input. Those wishing to speak at this meeting are asked to register with Vangel no later than 12:00 p.m. on April 12.

Budget Meeting 2021

Dawn Galusha, municipal treasurer, provided the annual budget presentation to council on Monday. The intention of the presentation was to explain how the town is financed and how the tax dollars are applied.

Galusha explained that the Fort Frances municipality has four sources of revenue: taxation, conditional and unconditional grants, user fees, permits, licenses, fines and other revenues such as rent, sale of land and interest.

Galusha said the province determined that, due to COVID-19, the tax base assessment values for residential properties would remain at the 2020 value. However, the municipal tax rates are set by the town. The increase in the tax rate was only done based on the estimated revenue needed to operate and maintain town services and its infrastructure.

For example, owners of a residential property assessed to be worth $200,000 by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) would pay $3,806.73 in property taxes in 2020 and $3,882.82 in 2021. The owners of the same residential property will pay $76.09 more in residential taxes after the approved 2.1 per cent tax increase on residential properties.

The next council meeting will be held on April 12, 2021. Town council meetings are open to the public through the Microsoft Teams platform or phone-in options. To access a council meeting follow the instructions at the top of the agenda you would like to attend. You can find the agendas posted at www.fortfrances.ca or call 807-274-5323 for assistance.

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