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Town seeking high-tonnage tax rate

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Fort Frances is seeking approval from the Ontario Ministry of Finance to charge CN a high-tonnage rate for railway right-of-way property running through the town.

Town council approved a resolution at its regular meeting last night to send a letter to Finance minister Charles Sousa stating they believe the municipality meets the high-tonnage threshold.

As first reported two weeks ago in the Times, the province announced March 28 that it will further reduce rate inequities by increasing the lowest property tax rates on mainline railway rights-of-way to a minimum of $110 per acre for 2018.

This will equal about $11,300 in railway taxes for the town.

But municipalities also have the option to increase rates per acre on high-tonnage lines, which the town believes it has here.

If the tonnage is 70 million tonnes or more, Fort Frances will qualify for getting $300 per acre as opposed to $110.

In 2016, the municipal rate was $35 per acre (equal to $3,600 in railway taxes) but it was increased to $80 per acre for 2017, which bumped up the amount to more than $8,200.

Also at last night's meeting, council:

  • received a presentation on the 2018 budget from deputy treasurer Dawn Galusha;
  • agreed to use the recount policy utilizing the provisions found in the Municipal Elections Act for the fall municipal election;
  • agreed to formally declare July 9-15 as “Pride Week" in the Town of Fort Frances (this includes having a flag-raising at the Civic Centre on July 14 and providing guidance with respect to any necessary permits or escorts for a pedestrian "Pride” march that same day);
  • approved the 2018 capping parameters for property taxes;
  • agreed to apply for funding to further the town's work on an asset management program;
  • received a financial request from the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society, with no further action to be taken;
  • agreed to waive the town procurement policy with respect to purchases over $5,000 so the fire department can purchase extrication cutters and spreaders;
  • approved the annual health and safety policy annual review; and
  • designated the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (July 18-21) as a significant community event.
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