Disappointed in Port Hope Council re Hope Township LLRW Trust Fund
This message is brought to you by Port Hopers for Fair Taxes. Please share it with friends and neighbours in both Ward 1 and Ward 2.
Hope Township residents,
Prior to the municipal election in the fall, two Hope residents submitted an Application requesting the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to:
– have the Hope Township LLRW Trust Fund formally and legally recognized and confirmed a Trust
– have all missing funds returned to the Trust, and
– have an accounting made to ensure the Fund was in order.
The two residents are Ian Angus, the former Hope Township reeve at the time of amalgamation, and Dean Ross, a member of the original task force that recommended that Hope receive a hosting fee in return for hosting the low level radioactive waste. This Application is entirely consistent with the requests made by Port Hopers for Fair Taxes over the last three years of the previous Council and during the 2014 fall election.
After the election, Mr Angus and Mr Ross met with the Mayor and quickly agreed on how the Municipality could recognize the trust, repay a reasonable amount of what had been misspent, and bring closure to the animosity between the two wards that arose from mis-using the Trust funds and the unfair and inequitable shift of tax-burden.
Over the past three months, all indications suggest the Municipality reneged on the agreement:
– they refused to recognize the Trust is a trust, and want it to simply be another of its reserves
– they want to take a chunk of the money still in the Trust for Municipality general spending
– they want to revise the administrative terms of the Trust.
During this time, Council’s ongoing confusion over the nature of the Trust has grown, in part, through a lack of understanding of the legal issues associated with a Trust, and in part because of the fund accounting methodologies employed by Staff.
– The Municipality continues to demonstrate that they fail to understand or respect the basic principle of ownership of the funds in the Trust by spending the money at their discretion, moving money in the Trust to and from various reserves, and by showing the fund on the Municipality’s Financial Statements as a municipal financial asset
– They further demonstrate their lack of understanding by suggesting that the Municipality has the authority to lead the process for their recommended changes to the terms of the Trust Agreement
– Their suggested changes are completely counter to the terms of the Trust and its original intent: to protect the monies from the whims or vagaries of a current Council or group of residents lobbying for services the majority of rural residents neither want, need, nor want to pay for
– Staff has suggested to Council that the rate of return on Hope’s Fund would be less if it were not consolidated with the Municipality’s assets
– Staff appears to have suggested that the movement of amounts in and out of their fund accounting (bookkeeping entries) is consistent with the conditions of the Trust.
Port Hopers for Fair Taxes will continue to support Mr Angus and Mr Ross in their pursuit of justice in this case through the courts. We seek your support when the Application is reviewed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 15, 2015.
Please consider by contributing to the PHFFT legal fund to defend this case in the courts. The legal challenge is costly and your help would be appreciated! Ratepayers may contribute to Port Hopers for Fair Taxes legal costs to bring this Application to the Court. Cheques can be made payable to Ian Angus’ lawyer’s trust account “Ian Angus In Trust” and mailed to Box 271 Port Hope ON L1A 3W4”. A letter of acknowledgement will be mailed.
Port Hopers for Fair Taxes regrets that the new Council appears unwilling or unable to meet the commitments made to PHFFT and residents of Hope Township during the election, that they appear to be as confused by the nature of a Trust as the previous Council, and that they are missing the opportunity to heal the rifts developed by the previous Council and Staff between Ward 1 and Hope Township residents.