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Council starts year with full agenda

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Town council will start off the new year with a slew of presentations.

Elizabeth Street resident Stan Hoard will make a presentation on the health hazards of wood smoke within town, followed by Coun. Wendy Brunetta speaking on the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise's free session about women in politics coming up here next month.

Then consultant Tannis Drysdale will provide a report on the town's industrial park sales policy, followed by an economic development activity report for the second half of 2017.

Meanwhile, as council rolls up its sleeves to dig into the 2018 budget, it will vote tonight on a bylaw to institute an interim tax levy.

As in previous years, the interim levy is equal to about half of the total amount of taxes property owners paid in 2017.

Interim tax levies are a means to secure revenue to keep operating while council determines the final tax rates for 2018.

Implementing interim tax levies is a common practice each January, and is permissible under the Municipal Act.

If the bylaw is passed tonight (as expected), interim tax bills will be mailed out shortly.

Fifty percent of the levy will be due and payable by Feb. 28, with the balance due by March 30.

Council also will vote tonight on a bylaw to authorize temporary borrowing in the amount of $4 million to meet 2018 expenditures (this also is normal procedure until tax revenues are collected for this year).

The committee of the whole will meet first at 5:30 p.m., with two in-camera items on its agenda.

Other business on tonight's agenda includes:

  • a funding request from Dr. John Nelson, chair of the Fort Frances and District Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, for $67,000—about the same amount the town has provided in recent years;
  • an e-mail from A. Cohen of Gulf & Pacific re: flooding at 360 Scott St.;
  • a letter from Couchiching First Nation bylaw officer Y. Adams re: provincial offences funding;
  • requests from North Air Services owner Kevin Pocock to increase taxi meter and Dial-A-Ride rates;
  • a request from the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame re: a membership and fundraising opportunity; and
  • a bylaw to approve an emergency plan for the town.
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