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Townships calculating number shuffle

District municipalities are still trying to figure out just what impact the province’s new download numbers will have on their 1998 budgets—and local taxes.

While all agree the numbers have changed, no one is quite sure what the final impact will be. But some are optimistic the “download” could come out revenue neutral after all.

Budget to take another hit tonight

It’s been hacked numerous times already but tonight the committee of the whole will draw the purse strings even tighter as it looks to find another $685,000 in savings from the town’s proposed 1998 budget.

“That’s still to be achieved to reach a zero tax increase,” CAO Bill Naturkach noted Monday.

He also admitted this has been the most difficult budget to bring in line.

What happens when the fund runs dry?

Municipalities may be scrambling with the downloading of services now but some are looking to the turn of the century when the province’s special circumstances funds run out.

That $75-million provincial fund is in place for 1998 and ’99 only. After that, said Janis Tomkinson with the Ministry of Finance’s communications department, municipalities will have to realize that savings.

Town sticking to province’s figures

The final numbers are in from the province and Fort Frances will use these figures—not those billed by the agencies—to decide how much municipal taxpayers will be paying for the “downloaded” services in 1998.

And if the agencies’ calculations are different, the town said the agencies will have to battle it out with the province.