Port Hope, ON (Nov. 27, 2013) – The crowd gathered at last night’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Port Hope’s town hall breathed a sigh of relief as Council unanimously voted in favour of a resolution which will allow more community input while looking at multiple area rating taxation options before any new method is chosen.
“Option 7” which had been submitted on November 15th by the three Ward 2 members of the Area Rating Citizens Working Group (Ian Angus, Bill Bickle and Rick Norman) was front and centre in the evening. Many of the 234 comment forms received by the municipality had specified “Option 7” as their preferred choice. A new option will also be considered; “Option 10” prepared by Mayor Linda Thompson, who said her proposed option “generally aligns with Option 7”
Council has now agreed to a more inclusive and meaningful public consultation process through establishing a new focus group, and holding a minimum of two public meetings in each ward with the use of an external facilitator.
The focus group will be comprised of the following; 1 representative from the Area Rating Working Group Ward 2 members; Mayor Linda Thompson; the Director of Finance and 1 representative from the Area Rating Working Group Ward 1 members. The group’s mandate is to develop and frame the area rating information and recommendations for consultation including implementation, which will then be used to solicit community input.
Ian Angus, a Ward 2 member of the Area Rating Citizens Working Group, and a member of Port Hopers for Fair Taxes, said after the meeting: “I’m glad Council decided to do it again and do it properly this time with transparency and public consultation. Now the work can begin in earnest to analyze all services as being area rateable.”
Port Hopers for Fair Taxes considers last night’s resolution a huge step forward and is glad that Option 7 is being used as the benchmark going forward so that financial data missing in its draft form will get accurate numbers during the comprehensive review of all services. The group is also pleased that the co-mingling of LLRW trust funds into one “Community Fund” won’t be pursued and that the two funds will remain separate.