| May 19, 2005


Feature article, May 19, 2005

Feature article May 19, 2005

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Addington Highlands approves 2005 budget

by Jule Koch Brison

The tax rate for the Township of Addington Highlands will basically stay the same for 2005 after Council approved the 2005 Budget at its May 16 meeting in Denbigh.

However, due to a 10.2% increase in County taxes, which accounts for 1/3 of the tax levy, ratepayers will see higher tax bills.

The increase would have averaged about $50 per household; however Addington Highlands has also received a one-time $51,000 provincial grant, which is mostly an adjustment for 2003 and 2004 policing costs.

Council decided, in a 3 to 2 vote, to take $10,000 out that grant and apply it to offsetting the tax increase. This will reduce the increase by around $10 per household.

Councillors Eythel Grant and Bill Cox opposed the decision, arguing that a $10 break for taxpayers is minor and the entire grant should be put into general fund reserves.

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Deputy Reeve Lorraine Berger said, It might not sound like much, but it could mean a lot to some people. Reeve Hook and Councillor Louise Scott agreed, and a motion to apply $10,000 to decrease the tax levy and put the remaining $41,000 into reserves was passed.

In the end, County residential taxes have been increased from $471 (for every $100,000 in assessment) in 2004 to $522.50 in 2005, while township taxes have been decreased from $679 in 2004 to $674.80 in 2005. The education tax rate has remained the same at $296.

This will result in a cumulative tax rate of $1,493.30 for every $100,000 of property assessment, an increase of $47.

Delegations: EOTA seeks ATV loops in AH

Cindy Cassidy, General Manager of the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance, and Andy Anderson, owner of the Kaladar Hotel and Restaurant came to council, seeking the use of certain AH roads to make bigger loops for ATV travel in the growing multi-use trails network.

The roads include the Old Addington Road from Kaladar to Flinton, the ODonnell Road, the Flinton Road, and others.

Reeve Hook pointed out that ATVs are not allowed on the Flinton Road, as it is a County road, but Cindy Cassidy said that EOTA would ask the countys permission to use it since it is north of Hwy 7.

EOTA carries $5 million in liability insurance, and the townships solicitor will examine EOTAs insurance policy. If we would be in the clear, then theres no reason why we shouldnt endorse this, said Reeve Hook.

Cindy Cassidy stressed that EOTA volunteers work very hard to keep the trails safe for ATV travel, keeping them well signed, cutting brush, fixing holes, etc., and EOTA also pays for some of the maintenance to be done. ATV use is growing 4 to 1 over snowmobiles, and trail permits are expected to generate over $120,000 this year. This will greatly help in maintaining the trails.

Cindy Cassidy told of a motel in Tweed that has tripled its business since it adopted ATV packages. Andy Anderson said that at his business, Im turning away about 50 ATVers a week that would like to go north. They turn around and go back down. This is so important for the economy.

Cindy Cassidy said that the Trails Alliance works closely with the local OPP detachments and health units to educate riders and promote ATV safety. The Canadian ATV Association is also developing an environmental program.

Council will wait to hear from the townships solicitor about the insurance issue.

Later in the council meeting, Roads Supervisor Royce Rosenblath wondered if the township could have a quid pro quo arrangement with EOTA whereby landowners could also use the trails to access their properties.

LITTERING

Councillor Cox is looking for ideas on how to stop littering. He asked if the fines could be raised, but Reeve Hook said that the amount of fines have to be approved by the Attorney Generals office. Cox even considered a Snitch Line, but Reeve Hook said that informants would have to testify and it basically would come down to one persons word against another. Councillors agreed that it was necessary to educate the children. Denbigh Public School students have recently cleaned up the village, but Reeve Hook said he was appalled by the amount of garbage at NAEC.

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