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District administrative board ready to roll

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The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board will hold its first official meeting in Fort Frances next Monday after legislation was passed giving it the power to administer child care, social housing, and “Ontario Works.”

Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, who is president of the Rainy River District Municipal Association, noted the proposal was accepted last week.

“Our agenda has not been put together yet,” he said Monday. “Our first meeting will be a formation meeting.”

He noted they would deal with the board’s mandate, budget, formation of administration, and start-up dollars expected from the province.

He also said the DSSAB would have to decide how it would administer the three services.

“Two of those three programs already have managers. Child care does not,” he noted, adding they had to decide how to marry them into one.

Meanwhile, the Northern Services Improvement Act, which would give the DSSAB the ability to set tax rates for certain services, was expected to get second reading today, then it will move on to the committee stage this summer.

After that, it will go to third and final reading.

“It’ll be some time in the fall session,” noted Rob Savage, press secretary to Northern Development and Mines minister Chris Hodgson.

That new board will be optional while the DSSABs are mandatory.

Local DSSAB reps include Dennis Brown (Atikokan), Glenn Witherspoon (Fort Frances), Emily Watson (La Vallee), Brian Reid (Emo), Peter Van Heyst (Chapple), Gary Gamsby (Morley), Linda Armstrong (Dawson), Gord Armstrong (Rainy River), Valerie Pizey (Lake of the Woods), Cliff Macintosh (the unincorporated areas in Rainy River East), Pat Dittaro (Rainy River Central), and Lee Molitor (Rainy River West).

Alberton hasn’t yet appointed a rep, but Reeve Judy Koski has been attending the meetings.

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