The board of Cassellholme met yesterday evening and agreed to split the levy they are imposing on municipalities into four payments, instead of seeking one up-front payment.
The levy will secure the partnering municipalities’ portion of the construction costs, which are estimated to reach $121 million.
Robert Corriveau, the mayor of Papineau-Cameron Township, remains disappointed with the decision, noting it will do little to alleviate the financial burden on his community.
Regardless of how many installments are allowed, “it still works out to approximately $2.3 million” owed by his municipality, which could lead to a large tax increase. “It’s just not practical.”
“It doesn’t make sense,” Corriveau said, this levy “is going to really strap us financially.”
“It’s the same for every other municipality,” he said, estimating that “the city of North Bay is going to have to spend over 80 million dollars, and do you know what that’s going to do the tax bill?”
Corriveau acknowledged that the representative from his township was not able to attend the board meeting, and was not sure why that was the case, but he had hoped to participate.
Asked his thoughts on the resignation of North Bay’s mayor Al MacDonald from the board, Corriveau said, “I fully support Mayor MacDonald’s commitment here.”
“The process is skewed, it’s not right,” he added, pointing out that “the financing is impossible to meet” for many municipalities.
Moreover, Corriveau questions the right of the board to impose the levy, mentioning the board can only do so if “all of the municipalities first agree to the cost of the project, and we did not agree.”
Corriveau’s frustration is mounting, and “if conditions were to remain the way they are, we would have to consult with our legal representatives to see if we can stop this.”
He hopes the Ministry of Long-Term Care “will address this, and make some changes.”
I really would like to see this get resolved,” he said, “to be able to move on and see the build come about, but I just feel that it could have been handled in a more careful and frugal way.”
“If we have to go through legal channels we will,” he said, “because we can’t afford it.”
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca