One motion was tabled, another was passed, a new motion was written but ignored, the passed motion was re-introduced and tabled, and a fourth motion was written and passed—all part of the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board’s latest attempt to select an apportionment formula.
“Look how much fun we’re having with this,” a frustrated Emo Reeve Brian Reid said at last Thursday’s monthly meeting.
Frustration, indeed, was the general mood of the meeting as members strove to reach an understanding on the apportionment formula—the one to be used to decide how much each municipality will be levied by DSSAB.
“If we all vote for what’s best for us, we’re not going to get a double majority—it’s impossible,” noted Lake of the Woods rep Valerie Pizey, who was encouraging municipalities to agree on a compromise.
A formula must receive a majority of votes from each municipality, representing a majority of the district’s electors, in order to be accepted.
One already had been selected by the board last month but because the voting requirement was misinterpreted, the whole selection process must be repeated.
And so far, it hasn’t proven to be much easier the second time around.
Some members, including Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, wanted to go with a straight vote with the probability that most municipalities would vote for Option #2—the one which appears to be the middle ground for most.
“I know damn well I’m not going to get #1 so I’m going to save my time and everybody else’s time by voting for #2,” said Mayor Witherspoon.
Others wanted to ensure that if Option #2 wasn’t approved by seven of the 13 municipalities, DSSAB will not have to go through the entire process again, or fall into default.
“Glenn, you can’t guarantee what your people are going to say when they read this,” warned Pat Dittaro, the Rainy River (Central) rep who wanted to establish a process for the selection.
“If you throw all your cards out, there’s the possibility it will fall into default,” he stressed.
“We spend way too much time on this—way too much time,” he added.
The board finally passed a motion that will require each municipality to pass a resolution choosing a first and second choice of apportionment formula, and the combination of those choices will be used to seek a double majority.
If a double majority cannot be reached on any of the formulas, it will result in a default, which would mean each municipality would have to pay directly for services within its boundaries rather than have the payments divided across the district—a solution that could prove costly for many.
“We sure don’t want a default resolution,” said Mayor Witherspoon, who still expects Option #2 will be chosen.
“I would hope it flies . . . it’s getting terrible,” he added.