MPAC visit does little to ease tension

By Michael Christianson

A recent visit by MPAC to the Dryden city council chambers gave a frustrated council a chance to voice their concerns over the assessment process that has put financial strain on the city.

Roger Valley stated that municipalities are not a part of the conversation when it comes to MPAC, a group that they pay for. He says that MPAC is trying to sell a bad decision when it comes to the assessment of the mill.

“How do we plan for something like a large industrial or even a large commercial? If they’re going to get tens of thousands of dollars back for years that have already passed, we’ve already spent that money looking after our citizens,” said Valley. “So that’s the problem with that legislation and a lot of municipalities in Ontario have said that. We need to put more pressure on the provincial government to correct that problem. We want people to pay the right taxes on the right assessment so the rules need to be the same for increase and decreases.

Councilor Norm Bush voiced similar concerns to the MPAC representatives. He hopes the consultation process moving forward is more thorough then it has been in the past when dealing with municipalities.

“I’m still not comfortable with what MPAC has done in spite of the fact that they have worked hard to improve their consultation process. From a city perspective and from somebody who sits on the finance committee and who has been dealing with the MPAC process we felt at the time, and we still feel and believe that the consultation process is very heavily skewed or slanted towards MPAC listening to industry as opposed to listening to industry and municipalities.”

Mayor Greg Wilson said that MPAC didn’t leave them with much hope after that meeting when it came to the issues in Dryden and he stressed the issue is not with Domtar but with the process MPAC has taken, one of the issues being how they compared values.

“We had a number of concerns which the treasurer brought up at the end of the presentation quite well, one of them being we can understand why they chose to go the route they did in terms of finding some kind of comparator but we didn’t feel that was fair going with a southern U.S. competitor,” said Wilson

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