President's Update - March 23, 2015
*IMPORTANT NEWS BULLETIN RE: SEWAGE RATES*
On March 12, 2015 the Public Utilities Board through rate order No. 32/15 deemed Dunnottar's holding tank system of collection a “PUBLIC UTILITY” and imposed a flat rate sewage fee of $490.00 per property.
The Public Utility Board was lobbied starting in September 2013 by a petition of 39 tax payers who felt they are unfairly taxed for sewage. As well, the Dunnottar Mayor and Council were aware of this activity and provided financial information to the PUB during the decision making process.
At no time did the PUB or Dunnottar Council inform the tax payers of Dunnottar of the impending review of Dunnottar sewage rates. We find this reprehensible to say the least.
To change an assessment based sewage tax to a flat rate of $490.00 per year is a tax shift of monumental oportions. For example, a highly assessed property of $340,000.00 currently pays about $1,300.00 for sewage pump outs. That rate will now be slashed to $490.00 yearly. A lower assessed property of $100,000.00 currently pays about $330.00 for sewage pump outs. That rate will now be raised to $490.00 yearly.
At no time was the option of 50% assessment based and 50% flat based tax rate for pump outs put in front of the PUB. The Dunnottar Ratepayers Association will put this payment option forward to the PUB. The DRA will start an appeal process to have the PUB order number 32/15 to be reviewed and verified and also request a PUB public hearing on the issue , something Dunnottar Council has neglected to consider.
One has to wounder if this is really a Public Utility.
Ed Strauman, President
Dunnottar Ratepayers Association
THE FOLLOWING IS A LETTER THAT WAS ADRESSED TO THE (ASSOCIATION OF MANITOBA MUNICIPALITIES) AMM FROM THE DRA:
On February 10, 2015, the Dunnottar Ratepayers Association Executive met with the Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Government regarding concerns our organization has with some of the resolutions passed at your November 2014 annual general meeting.
resolution 4-2014 ... "revise the current resolution to develop a higher threshold of objections"
resolution 5-2014 ... "develop a screening / review process to consider the merit of objections"
"consider that objections on certain applications be limited to property owners and citizens of the municipality and / or within a defined distance of the project! proposal"
The Dunnottar Ratepayers Association feels the AMM proposals to limit, screen and increase the threshold of letters of objection is a clear attempt to stifle public opposition to controversial borrowing by-laws.
One only has to review Dunnottar Council's mishandling of the 2012 sewer issue to reinforce why the tax paying public needs more access to Municipal Board hearings not less, as you are proposing.
At a time when groups like the Dunnottar Ratepayers Association lobby for more open and transparent government at the municipal level, it would appear the AMM is advocating blocking behaviors which could result in less transparency and the erosion of the democratic process.
After our meeting with Provincial Municipal Government officials, it was clearly stated that the province is in no rush to restrict public inputs to the municipal borrowing process. This does raise the question as to why the AMM is so interested in doing so.
Village of Dunnottar Minutes - August 2014
Article 15.7 - Municipal Planning Commission Appointees
Resolution # 184-14
Council appoints the following residents to the municipal planning commission as per
by-law 841-07 for the terms indicated:
George Thompson To January 2016
Cary Storey To January 2016
Doreen Rosassen To January 2015
David Lobban To January 2015
It would seem that these appointments by council favor those who are in support of a sewer system for Dunnottar. The DRA would like to see a more balanced series of appointments, including cottagers, considering the results of the July 2012 sewer referendum.
President Edward Strauman
Dunnottar Ratepayers Association