Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mayor delivers greetings

Mayor Roy Avis said this past year been a tough one for Fort Frances—and that 2014 will be challenging, as well.
But he also feels the community will continue to persevere.

“2013 was an unpredictable year, and probably the most challenging that I recall during my term as a councillor and as your mayor,” Mayor Avis noted during Monday night’s meeting, which was held a week early due to the Christmas holidays.
The kraft mill was idled and the production of paper decreased, and “this put tremendous stress on many of our citizens because of the numerous layoffs,” the mayor said.
“This forced families to move or persons to leave their families and seek employment in the west,” he remarked.
“This also affect our business community and their families.
“All in all, our whole community has been affected and will be for years to come,” he said.
But the community is resilient and willing to accept challenges, and Mayor Avis believes each and every citizen has accepted this challenge and helped the town make it through one of the toughest years yet.
“Your council was faced with a surmountable task of balancing a budget with a liability of $1.75 million that had to be paid back to Resolute because of the tax reassessment,” he recalled.
“Our administration and council met that without reducing services and with only a small tax increase.
“With 2014 fast approaching, we are again faced with a great deal of uncertainty in our local economy,” the mayor conceded.
“But I believe that if we work together and pull as a team, we can defeat the odds.
“We cannot forget that Fort Frances is the best place to live, work, and play in Northwestern Ontario,” Mayor Avis concluded.
“On behalf of council and administration, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Mayor Avis also reminded the public that if they plan to party this season, do not drink and drive.
In other news, four council meeting dates in 2014 were rescheduled due to conflicts with holidays.
The meeting slated for May 19 was changed to May 20 due to Victoria Day while the Oct. 13 one was rescheduled to Oct. 14 due to Thanksgiving.
Since 2014 is a municipal election year, the inaugural meeting of the new council will be on Dec. 1 (changed from Dec. 8).
Then the second meeting for that month will be Dec. 15 (changed from Dec. 22).
Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig noted legislation has been introduced that could see newly-elected councils hold their inaugural meetings in late November so as to minimize the “lame duck” period for outgoing ones.
But since this hasn’t become law yet, council can wait until that time to again change its inaugural meeting date.
Also at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•supported, in principle, the hosting of the Outdoor Fort Frances Music and Cultural Exchange scheduled for July, 2014, and will send a letter of support to be used in a funding application to the provincial marketing partnership fund;
•awarded a janitorial tender for the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre to S&A Cleaners for $27,120 annually (plus HST), with the option to renew for one additional year at the same contracted amount;
•passed a bylaw for the purpose of approving the minutes of current council; and
•passed a bylaw to approve an agreement with Métis Ventures Inc. to help repay tax arrears at 714 Armit Ave.

More stories