We’re not going to take it anymore. That seems to be one theme before Council this coming week. It concerns the last minute announcement by the Province that facilities such as the Lake Land Long Term Care facility are exempt from property taxes. Further information is available in the proposed resolution below, Item 9.5.1, as well as the full agenda package which is available from the Town or at ParrySounds through the agenda page. The Town is also proposing to support a resolution from the Manitoulin Centennial Manor regarding long term care funding, Item 8.3.
There are a couple of deputations and letters noted below. I expect that I will make a deputation regarding Item 9.2.1, Town Dock Gazebo. It appears that Staff is asking Council for approval to demolish the existing structure on the Town Dock and build a new structure. I have spoken to several people who are not happy with this proposal. I am neutral on this point, but I think that the Waterfront Committee needs to present the residents of Parry Sound with a comprehensive plan regarding the planned changes to, and vison for, the Waterfront. Changes to date have been limited to signage, painting the Town Dock ‘railing’ gray, and painting the benches along the dock and trails. Replacing the gazebo seems to be a big step that will remove one of the visual elements that has defined Parry Sound for a few decades now. And it will come with a significant cost, about $38,000. The proposed design is not unlike what currently exists, so perhaps this isn’t an issue. But I think that Staff and Committees have a responsibility to report to the residents of Parry Sound and solicit their input before implementing removal of heritage type structures. More information is available in the full agenda package.
A reminder – there is a Wednesday, March 2nd, budget meeting to address the Province’s last minute assessment surprise. It starts at 6:00.
A last thought, it concerns Item 4.4. I can see why McKellar Council meetings provide the best entertainment value in the District, especially if you can just shake your head and walk away from it. No, the numbers mentioned in the letter don’t make sense. Parry Sound makes that pretty clear in their response. In my opinion, shared project rates should be set according to property assessment values, not what is required to support a municipality’s services. Just because you spend the money doesn’t mean you are necessarily the wealthiest, or spend it on yourself. Young families spend much more of their income to raise children than seniors who just need to support themselves. Property is wealth and McKellar does pretty well in that regard as a function of their population. This is something that people need to wrap their head around. It’s not how much you earn that will be taxed in the future, it’s what you are worth. That’s the whole idea behind downloading costs to the municipalities. And you know what? It’s probably a fair way to do it. That way we don’t burden people who earn money, or spend money that supports jobs, with the greatest responsibility to support our country. The letter is included in the full agenda package. Enjoy. Perhaps McKellar should consider building a wall so as to avoid contamination from the surrounding municipalities. Walls are pretty popular with populists nowadays.
4.1 – Gary McNabb, G & B McNabb Lumber Company Limited. Re: Water billing concern.
4.2 – Louise Ramsay and Neil Douglas Hammell. Re: Comments about removing fluoride from the water and a thank you to Mayor and Council their continued hard work and dedication. – Response attached.
4.4 – Gord Zulak, McKellar resident. Re: Disposition of Area Financial Allocations – Response attached.
5.1 – Anne Bossart, Resident. Re: Update on the activities on Tower Hill.
5.2 – Daryl McMurray, Chair of the DBA. Re: An update on the Downtown Sustainability initiative.
Resolutions and Direction to Staff
8.3 – Long Term Care Funding Support. Resolution. Whereas the Manitoulin Centennial Manor passed a resolution regarding the lack of long term care funding from the province and circulated it to all municipalities and First Nations on Manitoulin Island; and Whereas Belvedere Heights CEO provided an excerpt from the Manitoulin Centennial Manor newsletter which highlights the need for better Long Term Care Funding from the province; and Whereas the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands circulated their support of this resolution to, among others, the Town of Parry Sound; Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Council of the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound supports the following resolution of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor and will forward a copy of this resolution on to the Minister of Health, Dr. Eris Hoskins, MPP Norm Miller, MPP Michael Mantha; the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, Shawanaga First Nation, Wasauksing First Nation and the West Parry Sound Municipalities and the District of Parry Sound Municipal Association for support: Whereas funding requests from member municipalities was frozen from 2010-2011 resulting in a zero growth budget; And Whereas funding increases from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has been increased but not kept pace with increases in costs to Long Term Care Facilities including staff salaries and benefits; And Whereas Long Term Care facilities are one of the most important aspects of eldercare in the Province’s care scheme; And Whereas capital renewal funding needs to be provided to ensure facility standards are maintained; And Whereas additional funding is required by the LTC’s to meet increased costs for Behavioral Services Ontario (BSO) to better manage dementia and mental health care; And Whereas funding has not been provided to provide Alternate Care for complex health conditions requiring specialized staff and equipment such as IV therapy or tube feeding especially in smaller facilities; And Whereas attracting and maintaining adequate staff requires recognition of the partnerships that exist between the L TC’ s and the health sector; And Whereas fundraising campaigns have not met the needs of the Manitoulin Centennial Manor in its efforts to maintain superior care for its residents; Be it resolved that the Board request its member municipalities support a request to the Province to increase funding to Long Term Care Facilities in keeping with the foregoing; And Further that this request be forwarded to the Manitoulin Municipal Association for whatever action they deem necessary.
9.2.1 – Town Dock Gazebo. Resolution. That upon the recommendation of the Waterfront Development Advisory Committee, Council support in principle the proposal received from Cedarland Homes Ltd. for a Town Dock gazebo; and That Council direct the Waterfront Development Advisory Committee to discuss design of the gazebo with Cedarland Homes Ltd. with a recommendation to come forward to the March 15, 2016 Council meeting. I offer comments in the introductory portion of this post. It may be a good idea, but let’s get some information out to the Public for comment.
9.2.1 – Visitor Information Centre – Stockey Centre. Resolution. That Council include the delivery of Visitors’ Information Centre (VIC) services as a core service of the Department of Development and Leisure Services; and That the VIC be operated from the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts and Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, commencing May 1, 2016; and That staff provide Council with a quarterly report on VIC operations for the first year of operations. I’m glad to see this initiative, it will benefit visitors and regional businesses.
9.5.1 – Exemption from Property Taxes for Non-Profit Long-term Care Facilities. Resolution. Whereas the Assessment Act, RSO 1990, c A.31 S.3 (1) states that all real property in Ontario is liable to assessment and taxation, subject to the specified exemptions from taxation; and Whereas S.3 (1) paragraph 7.2 indicates that land used as a non-profit long-term care home, is exempt if certain conditions are met; and Whereas the conditions for exemption were released on December 18, 2015 effective January 1, 2016; and Whereas this short time frame, in the middle of the preparation of the municipal budget has resulted significant loss of revenue to the Town from property taxes; and Whereas the Province paid for 85% of the property taxes for these facilities and therefore the exemption is in essence a download to the municipalities; and Whereas the impact of this lost revenue to the Town is approximately $230,000 which approximates an additional 2% tax rate on the general tax rate; and Whereas these properties do not meet the definition of a Public Hospital under the Public Hospitals Act and therefore are not required to pay the “Heads and Beds” tax that publicly funded hospitals pay to the municipality; and Whereas the Province of Ontario has not updated the “Heads and Beds” rate since 1987; Now be it resolved that the Council for the Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound requests that the Province of Ontario require that Non-Profit Long-Term Care Facilities pay the “Heads and Beds” tax similar to publicly funded hospitals; and Further that the Province of Ontario increase the current “Heads and Beds” rate to reflect inflation from 1987 and index the rate so that it is reflective of current value; and Further that the Province commit to providing 12 months notice on changes in regulations that impact the revenue generation for municipalities; and Further that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Premier of Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Federation of Northern Municipalities (FONOM), the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM), MPP Norm Miller, the City of Toronto, the Municipal Finance Officers Association of Ontario (MFOA), the Ontario Municipal Taxation and Revenue Association (OMTRA). My comments are offered in the introduction to this post.
9.5.2 – Parry Sound Water Financial Plan. Resolution. That Council for the Town of Parry Sound hereby accepts and approves the Town of Parry Sound Water Financial Plan prepared by Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. dated February 24, 2016, attached as Schedule “A”; and Further, that staff are directed to advertise notice of the availability of the PS Water Financial Plan to the public; and To forward the Water Financial plan and resolution approving the Plan to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and To forward the Water Financial Plan and resolution approving the Plan to the Ministry of the Environment, satisfying the requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
10.3.1 – Wasauksing Fire Protection Agreement. Being a By-law to authorize the Mayor and Clerk to execute and affix The Corporate Seal to a Fire Protection Agreement between The Corporation of the Town of Parry Sound and Wasauksing First Nation for a portion of Wasauksing First Nation.
See you Tuesday night, and Wednesday night. I have no sense of how things will go on Wednesday at the Budget meeting. It’s uncharted territory.
Sunset Sky Over Zhiishiib Rock As Seen From the North Shore Rugged Trail