Tax forgiveness request questioned 'More research needs to be done,' says SAO
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 27, 2015
LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON
Fort Simpson's village council postponed a decision on whether to grant a Deh Cho woman tax exemption on a property in the Two Islands area following deliberations on Aug. 17.
Mayor Sean Whelly, left, and SAO Beth Jumbo deliberate during an Aug. 17 regular meeting of village council. - April Hudson/NNSL photo
On July 29, the village received a letter from Sen. Nick Sibbeston on behalf of Flora Cli, a senior citizen whom Sibbeston said should be eligible for tax relief and forgiveness under the Seniors and Disabled Persons Property Tax Refund program. Cli is in arrears for an undisclosed amount.
Sibbeston said Cli is not aware of taxes ever being paid on the property, which was traditionally used by her family and is in a flood-prone area.
"This is of great concern to (Cli's family) as they do not feel they should pay taxes on this property and, as well, are elderly and are living on a very small fixed income," stated Sibbeston.
Senior Administrative Officer Beth Jumbo said the problem with allowing Cli to access the property tax refund program is that the property in question is not her main residence.
"I think more research needs to be done," she said.
Questions were raised as to Cli's main residence, which some councillors believed to be in Nahanni Butte. That would disqualify the family from accessing the refund program in Fort Simpson.
The matter was tabled until it could be determined where Cli lives.
Crime down for July
A monthly policing report from the Fort Simpson RCMP detachment states officers responded to a total of 133 calls for service in July.
Although that is up from 126 calls in July 2014, total violations are down from 174 to 104 compared to last year.
Violations included 11 assaults, two break-and-enters, 23 offences under the liquor act and 51 instances of mischief or causing a disturbance, among others.
RCMP also responded to 11 reports of impaired drivers, resulting in one charge.
Rezoning public consultation
An amendment to rezone a lot of land near 103 Avenue and 100 Street passed first and second reading on Aug. 17.
The rezoning changes the lot from a commercial zone to a multi-residential zone, which will allow multiple units to be built on it.
Third reading of the bylaw is set to come before council on Sept. 8, at which time if passed it will come into force. In the meantime, the matter will go to public consultation.
Any community member can appeal the re-zoning.
Bulk water policy delayed again
A new policy that would require water purchased for human consumption to be delivered through an authorized local water distributor has been tabled for a third time so councillors can define the term "local water distributor."
Mayor Sean Whelly said the term needs to be clear so its interpretation is not left up to village staff.
Examples given included whether a company needed to only have a business licence in the community or would need to live in the community to qualify.
Mike Drake, regional superintendent for the Deh Cho region with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, suggested councillors take a look at similar policies across Canada when determining how to address their concerns.
"Some of those will include a local hiring preference policy," he said.
He also suggested the village run the policy past its legal adviser before passing it in third reading.
The policy will go back to committee for discussion.