Town to help fight for fair dam payment

Duane Hicks

Fort Frances is taking part in a comprehensive background and position paper development to make sure municipalities with dams get their fair share under the provincial Power Dam Special Payment Program.
Council agreed last night to contribute its share ($858) to the Power Dam Project Group, as requested by Bob Heil, managing director and vice-president of the Municipal Tax Advisory Group.
“We would ask that you consider joining this endeavour to ensure that the provincial contribution is not eroded or more importantly that alternative measures are taken to properly and appropriately assess these structures for taxation purposes for long-term, guaranteed stable municipal revenue,” Heil wrote in a letter received by council.
“Every municipality needs to have a voice at the table,” he stressed. “Accordingly, we are asking you to consider joining in this province-wide project.
“Your participation is integral to a strong representation to the province,” Heil added.
The estimate to complete the project is $44,000.
In other news, residents will pay a little more for most town services next year after council approved the 2016 user fee schedule as presented last night.
Most town user fees will be going up by 1.2 percent in 2016 (this increase is reflective of the Ontario Consumer Price Index).
But not all fees will go up. Bag tags, for example, will remain $2.25 while the minimum tipping fee at the landfill will stay the same.
As well, the user fee schedule does not include water and sewer rates, which will be reviewed separately during the 2016 budget process.
An authorizing bylaw will be prepared for passage at council’s next meeting.
Also last night, Mayor Roy Avis shared a few words about Joyce Cunningham, the longtime chair of the Fort Frances Public Library board and “Citizen of the Year” for 2010 who passed away Saturday.
“I’d like to express condolences on behalf of council and the Town of Fort Frances to her family,” the mayor said.
“Joyce had a very key part in the construction of the new library in Fort Frances,” he added. “I know many days we had a good conversation regarding that.
“She was a real worker.”