Town to pay more to DSSAB

Duane Hicks

Fort Frances will have to find an extra $100,000 in its budget next year to cover a change in the funding apportionment formula which determines how much municipalities pay to the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs, the town’s rep on the DSSAB, told council last night that the board decided to review its funding formula earlier this year, with the majority of its membership recently having voted to change it.
The apportionment formula required a “yes” vote from the majority of the 13 DSSAB members representing a majority of the district’s population.
But the board had to wait until this past Thursday to hear back from the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. and get up-to-date information on elector numbers to determine weighting.
Fort Frances and some other municipalities wanted the funding formula to remain status quo (i.e., weighted assessment using the weighted average tax ratio by class for DSSAB, including payments in lieu, or PILs), which town council previously has indicated it felt to be the most fair for district municipalities.
The majority of the membership, however, voted in favour of changing the formula to weighted assessment, including PILs, using municipal tax ratios for municipalities and weighted average tax ratios for the unincorporated areas.
This change will drive up Fort Frances’ annual payment to the DSSAB from $1,831,471.17 to $1,940,467.39—a difference of $108,996.22.
It also will increase annual payments for Lake of the Woods ($1,003 more), La Vallee ($4,626 more), and Morley ($8,300 more) but decrease payments for Alberton ($22,685 less), Atikokan ($15,222 less), Chapple ($66,514 less), Dawson ($7,278 less), Emo ($5,953 less), and Rainy River ($5,273 less).
Unincorporated areas would stay the same.
While the DSSAB originally wanted the funding change to be applied retroactively to January of this year, Coun. Tibbs reasoned the town already is almost six months into 2010 and successfully lobbied that the board continue with the current formula until the end of this year, and introduce the new one starting in January, 2011.
“I appreciated the municipalities that supported Fort Frances in that regard,” Coun. Tibbs noted, adding it provides for some “breathing room” for this council, or the next, to start thinking about how to cover that extra $108,000 in next year’s budget.
Mayor Roy Avis said that, in simplest terms, “we’re starting our 2011 budget with a one percent tax increase.”
“This is just another example . . . of a cost to the municipality that we have no control over,” said Coun. Andrew Hallikas.
“A large proportion of our budget goes to pay for services the town has absolutely no control over, such as DSSAB,” he remarked.