Tax bills to town residents for the final instalment of the year 2000 are now in the mail.
After numerous delays as the town and an outside contractor struggled to arrange municipal software to process the bills in compliance with provincial legislation, Administration and Finance manager Darryl Allan told council last night the bills have been printed.
“The tax bills were mailed out on Friday, that is the final tax bill residents will receive [for 2000],” said Allan.
The billing was held up as the municipality worked to accommodate the 10-5-5 capping for property re-assessments and include a billing history as required by the province.
In other news, the committee of the whole discussed a request from the owner of the Super 8 motel slated to be built on King’s Highway here to provide an extension from the nearby watermain, a commercial-size driveway entrance, and a fire hydrant on the property—all at a cost of $12,000.
“I’d like to speak in favour of doing this,” said Mayor Glenn Witherspoon. “If we sit and look at ourselves, across in the U.S., they can offer tax concessions.
“If we can offset this $12,000 for this individual who is [spending] over $2 million, I think that’s a good investment for Fort Frances,” he added.
But there was some concern that absorbing these costs would set a precedent for other businesses.
“As it is right now, I cannot support it. We are opening the door to other issues,” argued Coun. Roy Avis.
“The man is investing over $2 million and he’s requesting $12,000. I don’t see this as making or breaking a project,” added Coun. Gilson.
At Coun. Tibbs’ suggestion, council agreed to provide the developer an extension to the watermain, which is on the opposite side to the road, and provide the driveway changes.
But not to provide the hydrant without regular maintenance charges.
“It’s our obligation to provide the water line and the driveways,” noted Coun. Deane Cunningham. “We’re looking at hiring an [economic development officer] and it can be part of his job to develop a policy.”
The committee of the whole also heard a report from Mark McCaig, president and CEO of the Fort Frances Power Corp., who indicated it is now ready to take on all PUC assets and services when the utility is officially transferred Nov. 6.
“All our board members have given primacy to protecting ratepayers,” he pledged. “The Town of Fort Frances is the principal shareholder, the town owns this company, which is governed by the board.”