The collection of the second instalment of taxes for the year 2000 here has been set back another month.
The latest due date for tax bills to be returned has been pushed back to Oct. 31 as the municipal computer system is adjusted to accommodate the province’s 10-5-5 cap of current market assessments.
The system is expected to be ready to print out the bills with all the required adjustments by the end of September or early October. But 21 days must be given from the date of issue to the due date to allow residents and businesses to pay.
In the meantime, the delay is costing the town money.
“We had a note for $250,000 and we have another note for the same amount to kick in at the end of the month,” said CAO Bill Naturkach.
The town currently is paying about $51 a day in interest for the borrowed money—an amount which could increase significantly if more funding isn’t made available
“If we project a worst-case scenario, it will be $410 a day,” said Naturkach.
Naturkach indicated funding from the community reinvestment program and other government grants may be allocated to the town over the next month.
And the taxes should be collected before expensive projects such as the four-laning of King’s Highway between York and Wright near completion.
“We’re reviewing right now the first print of the new program to see if it’s fine,” said Naturkach. “We’re anticipating a calculation and bill creation period which would take us a week and a bit.”
But there is some concern Fort Frances could run into similar problems next year if the province is slow once again to release its requirements.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs voiced the concern of council before the provincial Red Tape Commission, which stopped in Fort Frances yesterday afternoon as part of a tour of Northwestern Ontario.
“It could have been avoided if such sweeping changes had not been made in such a short time-span,” she argued. “The corporation had to hire a firm in order to get this tax bill out.”
Coun. Tibbs added more time has been spent by administration and the tax collector trying to comply with the changes that have been legislated than actually collecting taxes.