By Sarah Bissonette Jun 06, 2012 - 3:48 PM
ROSSEAU – The Rosseau Nursing Station has extended hours this summer, thanks to the Lake Rosseau North Association (LRNA).
This July and August the nursing station doors will open weekends and statutory holidays with staff time paid for by the association’s Rosseau EH! fundraising initiative.
The initiative celebrates the association’s 30th birthday.
“The Rosseau EH! pilot project underscores LRNA’s commitment to the greater Rosseau community,” said Anita Wood, LRNA president. “Extended weekend hours of the Ruth Dare Nursing Station is a very important issue to cottagers, people in town and the countryside.”
An area nurse practitioner, who has covered off nurse praticioner Donna Kearney before, will help cover the additional hours.
The health centre is open for non-emergencies such as sore throats and cuts.
“This is providing health care close to the dock,” said Kearney, who said the request for additional summer hours was possible in summer’s past.
Chief Executive Officer Donald Sanderson said the number of people visiting the health centre’ emergency room could double in the summer months.
“Anyone who can be cared for in our nursing stations and avoid a visit to our emergency room helps to take some of the pressure off,” he said. ”We’re assuming it’s primary care and it’s not life threatening types of emergencies and that will help everybody, shorten waits for the existing people in our emergency department.”
Throughout the summer the nursing station will track its usage and the reason for the visits during the extended hours. Depending on the use, staffing, and funding from either the province or organizations such as the RLNA, extended hours could continue in summers to come.
“Really, the most difficult part of this is finding staff,” said Kearney. “I can’t work seven days a week…even as we speak we’re still having difficulties finding someone to cover the front desk (in the summer).”
She added the nursing station was lucky to have an available nurse practitioner who lives in the area.
As of late May, the association has raised about $12,000 of the $15,000 needed.
The extended hours on weekends and statuary holidays are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. between June 30 and August 31.
SEGUIN TWP. - As of June 17, Seguin Township will be debt free.
The municipality has successfully paid off $6.6 million in debt incurred between 1998 and 2003.
“It’s a good news report,” said Mayor David Conn about chief financial officer’s budget report presented to council during the April 16 council meeting. “The good news (is that) again we’re lowering our tax rate. The good news is our residents are going to pay essentially the same as in 2011. The good new is we’ll be debt free soon.”
This year’s municipal taxes decreased by 0.1 per cent even with the average assessment increasing from $405,389 to $424,400.
“Council and staff are to be commended for keeping the budget increase below the rate of inflation without sacrificing the quality of life for Seguin residents,” said Rod Smith, chair of the Seguin Finance Committee, in a press release. “All Seguin’s resident benefit from living in a fiscally prudent township.”
The turning point from years of budget deficits to surpluses was the 2004 budget.
At the time, Coun. Bruce Gibbon was chair of the township’s finance committee and not a member of council. At the last council meeting, he revisited the township’s 2004 budget, as presented during a public meeting that spring.
“I will never forget the man who addressed council in tears about his island in Lake Rosseau, they were at risk of losing it with the assessment (increasing) and taxes following,” said Gibbon.
Municipal property taxes had increased 36 per cent between 1998 and 2003, compared to the provincial average of six per cent, and township spending was up141 per cent with the majority of that in-house discretionary spending.
The future outlook was bleak, the township told residents, if something wasn’t done to get spending under control.
The options included slashing expenses, raising taxes between 30 to 49 per cent and incurring more debt to buy time.
The township decided to borrow $1.5 million, but that wasn’t needed, Gibbon reminded council, with costs held steady instead of growing, and a 12 per cent increase in tax revenue.
Since 2003, Seguin’s municipal tax rate has decreased 29 per cent, from 0.49 per cent to 0.34 per cent.
This, said Gibbon, was accomplished with financial planning, strong leadership and, most important, staff support bringing costs under control by finding efficiencies.
“Tough medicine was the key,” said Conn.
SEGUIN TWP. – The 2012 tax bills in Seguin Township are expected to look an awful lot like the 2011 ones.
That’s because the township approved a draft budget that keeps tax revenue collected for the township and school board the same as last year.
The decision comes with the assistance of lower than expected levies from outside agencies and more than expected from the provincial government.
Before the most recent changes to the 2012 draft budget, the township was looking at increasing the municipal tax rate by two per cent.
Council unanimously gave its approval in principal to the draft 2012 budget with a zero per cent tax rate increase during the February 6 meeting.
“It’s a good news story for all our residents,” said Seguin Mayor David Conn before calling the vote.
The final budget is expected to go before council in May. For 2012, the average property value increased in Seguin Township by 4.75 per cent.
That means property with an assessed value of $100,000 in 2011 is worth $104,750 today, producing more tax revenue at current rates.
In addition, contributions required from Parry Sound District municipalities for Parry Sound Emergency Medical Services rose by 9.9 per cent instead of the projected 12 per cent, and Belvedere Height’s Home for the Aged decreased its levy to funding municipalities from $1,049,696 in 2011 to $985,797 this year. The province’s transfer payment for social services and policing costs came in $143,100 higher than projected.
Combined, changes meant the township could actually lower the tax rate a fraction and still cover expenses and plan for tomorrow by putting money in a municipal contingency fund.
Revenue for the Near North District School Board is also collected through the township based on property values. The school board’s 2012 rate also dropped this year from .23 per cent to .22 per cent with increased property values allowing schools to capture the same revenue at a the slightly reduced rate.
While the picture looks good so far, the rate remains subject to change before final approval in May, as the township awaits levies from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit and Parry Sound District Social Services Administration Board.
- By Sarah Bissonette
- Feb 15, 2012 - 2:01 PM
- Landowners nix boundary change
SEGUIN TWP. – Parry Sound and Seguin Township officials hoped proposed boundary changes would lead to economic growth and development.
For resident Phil Weichel’s family businesses, the plan meant a significant tax increase.
Last month, the municipalities jointly announced the plan to extend Parry Sound’s municipal boundary to include 132 hectares between Oastler Park Drive, Richmond Lake and Parry Sound Road.
Officials proposed the agreement to further growth by providing more road, sewer and water access for development.
In return, the town would have paid Seguin Township $90,000, in five installments, for already incurred planning, legal and other expenses related to the affected properties.
Seguin Township needed the approval of at least eight of the 12 affected property owners to proceed with the deal, and no more than four could oppose it. The township sent ballots to property owners by registered mail.
By Wednesday eight had voted with five opposing the plan.
Weichel, president of Richmond Lake Park, a trailer park and campground, said he would have to find another job to pay the additional taxes if the deal had gone through.
Using the 2011 residential tax rate, including education costs, a homeowner in Seguin would have paid $597.35 on $100,000 of their home’s assessed value. In Parry Sound the same homeowner’s tax bill in 2011 was $1,288.50.
The town had offered property owners a three-year phase in period before full taxes were due, unless a property was developed. Officials also dangled a carrot, speculating that property values would rise, but Weichel has no plans to sell is 90-acre park.
For Weichel’s family business, a move within Parry Sound boundaries would have meant an annual tax increase of $5,200. The business’ income, he said, simply covers its bills, while he and his wife both hold jobs outside the park.
“I’m not opposed to joining Parry Sound,” he said. “But, basically, I’m opposed to costs going up incredibly and suspecting that they’ll go up more in the future when I’m only receiving speculation my property value will go up in the future,” he said.
With his vote, Weichel represents the approximately 20 tenants at the park.
They have other concerns, he said. Besides the hike in taxes, there’s the potential future cost of putting in and hooking up to municipal water and sewer services.
He also pointed out that the town limits garbage pickup to two bags each for residents on specific pickup dates, while Seguin residents can take unlimited household waste to any of the transfer stations.
Weichel said he did like the idea of seeing Parry Sound Drive opened to provide residents easier access to the West Parry Sound Health Centre.
Most of those who opposed the plans though, he said, are simply residents, while those with development plans within the affected area would support the change.
George Stivrins is the co-owner of a proposed 80-acre development within the area. After seven years in the application stage, including an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board over zoning, and numerous studies, his project is almost ready to move from paper to the ground.
If the land had become part of Parry Sound, he said, it would have made servicing the development easier.
The decision by other landowners to stay within Seguin means the development will need a less straightforward service agreement with both Seguin and Parry Sound.
Stivrins said he suspected surrounding property owners nixed the proposal over higher taxes.
“The challenge is for a residential person living there, what’s their perceived benefit to paying higher taxes? From a commercial standpoint, with all the other good things about being hooked up to the town, you can justify the higher tax rates,” he said. “Then you’re able to access sewer and water.”
Although landowners have quashed the proposed deal, the town isn’t letting it die without another attempt. Municipal officials plan to reconsider the offer and try again.
Attractive tax rate
Parry Sound plans to offer a tax rate that would make it more attractive to those it’s trying to court.
“Obviously the tax rate, I guess, wasn’t palatable for some of the residents, so I think we’ll take another look at this, have some discussions with Seguin and we’ll see what happens,” said Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey. “A lot of people think it’s a good idea and, as I’ve maintained all along, it’s not about what’s there today, it’s about tomorrow.”
Support for border adjustment
McGarvey said numerous people and organizations have expressed support for the move.
“It is sort of a natural progression and I think it has a lot of potential,” he said. “And, there’s people who want to do things, so let’s keep moving along here and see what can be worked out.”
One more offer
Seguin Township council is open to further discussion, said Seguin Mayor David Conn, and would consider one more proposal from the town before closing the books on the border adjustment.
“The ball is in Parry Sound’s court,” said Conn. “If they want to review the offer that they provided to the residents and make any modifications it’s up to them. Our council will listen to the options, we’re not closing the door, but it’s up to Parry Sound to come back with another offer.”
- Sarah Frank
- Parry Sound North Star Jun 03, 2011 - 11:38 AM
Seguin lowers tax rate again
SEGUIN TWP - Seguin ratepayers will once again see a drop in their tax rate this year. The residential municipal tax rate will fall from about 0.38 per cent to 0.36 per cent. According to Seguin Township Chief Financial Officer Michele Fraser, the decision to lower the rate came with the four-year graduated property assessment increase that began in 2008. This means that if during the four-year period, a taxpayer’s property value increased by 100 per cent, they will see a 25 per cent increase each year. “The first thing we do is pull the tax rate back,” said Fraser. “If one goes up the other can go down.”
Fraser also said that because of assessed property values, just because municipal taxes are lower, that doesn’t necessarily mean all residents would see a decrease in their property tax. Property owners whose assessment goes up 3.75 per cent will see no increase, and those whose increased by less than 3.75 per cent will see a decrease.
As explained on the municipal newsletter, $100,000 of a home’s assessed value in 2010 is $104,980 in 2011: That equals $384.59 in 2011 municipal property taxes, excluding the public school system’s portion.
Mayor David Conn attributes the lowered tax rate to professional, hard-working staff and long-term planning.
“One of the things we like to do in Seguin is plan long term - and we do it well,” he said. “We are very pleased about the fact that we will be debt free in two years.”
The municipality’s financial standings are a result of a plan the municipality has been working on for seven years, said Conn.
“We are all working as a team to keep costs as low as possible,” he said.
Conn said the municipality is lucky to have a motivated and skilled management team, including chief financial officer Michele Fraser.
“Michele understands the residents of Seguin, and she really understands our community,” he said.
Compared to other area municipalities, Seguin had managed to keep its tax rate on the low end of the scale.
The Town of Parry Sound’s rate came in at about 1.06 per cent, and McDougall at close to 0.57 per cent.
- By Cameron Ginn
- Oct 27, 2010 - 11:31 AM
Conn re-elected. Seguin Township Mayor David Conn celebrates with friends and supporters at his Orrville home after handily winning re-election with 2,708 votes over challenger Mark Stivrins 1,902 votes.Cameron Ginn/North Star
PARRY SOUND - On Monday David Conn was re-elected as mayor of Seguin Township.
In the company of friends, family and supporters, Conn, now entering his third consecutive term as mayor, hosted a casual gathering at his Orrville home Monday evening as the final votes of the 2010 municipal election were cast.
“Running a campaign is time consuming and a lot of hard work, and these folks really are terrific,” he said of the good company.
As soon as election results were tallied at 8:30 p.m., a phone rang and the highly anticipated results were read aloud: Conn won by 806 votes over mayoral candidate Mark Stivrins, according to unofficial results.
Elsewhere in the township, tight races in Wards 1 and 6 ended in defeat for incumbents Susan Adams and Brian Sturgeon, who will be replaced by Rod Osborne and Jack Hepworth respectively at in early December.
As Osborne was campaigning, he identified a strong discontent among electors over a lack of representation.
“They didn’t feel like they were being properly represented on council,” he said.
“People were quite verbal about that.”
Incumbent Councillor Alex Chidley, arguably the most outspoken and controversial councillor in Seguin, edged out opponents Dale E. Graves and Bill Pocock in Ward 1, but congratulated them for honest campaigning nonetheless.
With another term, Chidley is vying for more democracy.
“It’s never democratic when it’s 6-1, 6-1, 6-1,” he said about, what he perceives to be, the ratio of votes on council.
“That’s not democracy.”
Alex Chidley, arguably the most outspoken and controversial councillor in Seguin, edged out two opponents in Ward 1.
Swept the polls
Present at Conn’s home on Monday evening was incumbent Councillor Doug Sainsbury, who swept the polls with a landslide victory in Ward 4, where he overpowered opponent Ronald L. Steele with 396 votes to 86.
In terms of policy, Sainsbury said he didn’t notice much of a difference between previous and newly elected councillors, but admitted to have miscalculated the atmosphere in Ward 3.
“Obviously there’s some discontent there,” he said.
Conn wasn’t totally surprised with the results, but said that having a wise council and a talented team of staff were critical in running and managing the township, essentially a large corporation.
“You also have to have a vision,” he said.
“You’ve got to know where you’re going, and you’ve got know how you’re going to get there.”
Although the political landscape on council has shifted, Conn’s own platform remains unchanged: the environment, tax value and working with other townships for controlled growth are all priorities, he explained.
“We’re going to continue focusing on maintaining the momentum we have,” he said.
Having experienced victory for a third straight term, Sainsbury revealed that this election would likley be his last.
Looking back over the past seven years, he said the township had flourished under Mayor Conn’s leadership.
“I think it’s his business acumen, his discipline that he brings to the staff in the township and also the council,” he said.
“I’m very supportive of him.”
Celebrating. Seguin Township Mayor David Conn celebrates with friends and supporters at his Orrville home after handily winning re-election with 2,708 votes over challenger Mark Stivrins 1,902 votes. Cameron Ginn
SEGUIN TWP – Seguin Township Mayor David Conn has won re-election, securing 2,708 votes over challenger Mark Stivrins, who finished with 1,902 votes.
In Ward 1, Alex Chidley, and outspoken critic of Conn, won with 400 votes over Dale Graves (295) and Bill Pocock (172).
In Ward 3, Rod Osborne has defeated incumbent Susan Adams with 604 votes to her 359.
In Ward 4, Doug Sainsbury easily won his seat back with 396 votes over challenger Ronald Steele, with 86.
In Ward 5, incumbent Everett Jacklin won re-election with 557 votes over Joe LaPlante (316) and Rick Cole (143).
In Ward 6, incumbent Brian Sturgeon lost to new candidate Jack Hepworth (411).
Councillor Bruce Gibbon was acclaimed in Ward 2.
April 16, 2010 - CottageCountryNow.ca
This is in response to Mr. Gord Zulak's tirade against seasonal residents (Don't live here? don't vote here letter to the editor published in the April 2 Beacon Star). Mr. Zulak, my family ran a resort here on Georgian Bay for 57 years. During the first three decades we were only here during the summer. My dad was pretty handy, and in his time did a lot of work for seasonal residents and we still have friends who are seasonal residents. So I have had some personal experience with seasonal residency. My best description of the emotional attachment this area has for seasonal residents is that, although their body has to work in the city, their soul lives here. You believe that such people should have no say in the affairs of a place that is so important to them.
You believe that it is unfair for people who, for part of the year have another mailing address, to vote. Well, I believe that market value assessment is unfair. Market value assessment is a wealth tax on one specific asset class. One can have billions of dollars worth of stocks, but pay no annual tax on their market value. In principle, municipal taxes are supposed to pay for services provided by a municipality, and not be a social tax. Most seasonal residents own waterfront homes, and their taxes may be four to five times higher than a comparable household on an interior road, even if they are only here to use those services about 20 per cent of the year.
Apparently you don't regard seasonal residents as people, you see them as livestock. After you have finished milking the tax dollars out of them, you want to send them back to the city to get you more money. Mr. Zulak, you complain a lot. Why don't you come live in Carling where your presence might decrease my market value assessment.
By Cameron Ginn
Seguin Place affordable housing plans forge ahead. On Monday, April 19, route clearing began at the proposed site of Seguin Place, an affordable housing project for seniors in Seguin Township, where developer Greg Knight, left, contractor Tim Barkwell, and concerned resident Rod Villeneuve briefly discussed details about buffer zones. Cameron Ginn/North Star
SEGUIN TWP - Route clearing for the municipal road leading into Seguin Place, an affordable housing complex specially tailored for seniors, is finally underway in Seguin Township. Early Monday morning, men wielding heavy-duty chainsaws cleared an entranceway to a 12-acre lot that will eventually accommodate six five-plex homes, a $9-million development project designed with seniors in mind. “We’re finally here,” said Greg Knight, co-ordinator and co-founder of Seguin Place Inc., a construction company exclusively formed to build Seguin Place. “It’s been a long time coming.” A decade of planning for Seguin Place began more than ten years ago when senior residents started supporting the idea of establishing affordable dwellings in Seguin Township.
“There is a lack of units that active seniors can move into and live their kind of lifestyle without having to worry about extensive maintenance issues,” says Seguin Township Mayor David Conn, who, along with councillor Susan Adams, helped establish the Seguin Adult Lifestyle Community (SALC), a committee of residents and council members devoted to building homes for the elderly.
“We’re delighted to see the beginning of construction, and we expect it to be successful,” Conn said Monday evening.
Knight, also a lawyer by profession, describes Seguin Place units as handicap accessible bungalows, devoid of stairs and conducive to lifestyles of the elderly. Due to considerable demand, the first two housing units, partially funded by the provincial government, will probably be built sometime this fall and sold immediately thereafter. “I’m sure that the first units Greg is building will probably be filled as soon as they’re available,” said Tom Stockie, CAO of Seguin Township, who also played an important role in bringing the project to fruition. Weaving through Seguin Place is a maze of multi-activity trails - which the Ministry of Natural Resources permitted Knight to expand through 200 acres of heavily wooded surrounding territory - that will be made available to both homeowners and members of the community, said Knight. “There aren’t a lot of areas like this. We’re trying to keep as much of the natural landscape as we can.” To minimize the affects of construction on adjacent lots, a 100-foot “no touch zone” will be strictly adhered to, Knight said. A barrier of white cedar trees will be planted alongside the driveway into Seguin Place for additional buffering. Despite these precautionary measures, neighboring homeowner Rod Villeneuve remains irked.
He said the Ministry of Transportation has repeatedly denied his requests to relocate the entranceway further down Highway 141.
“It’s too close to my property,” Villeneuve said. ”If I were to build a house out here, I would have to build so many meters back from the lot line, but when Seguin goes ahead with a development, those rules go out the window.”
In the long run, Villeneuve worries Seguin Place may devalue the worth of his property and alter the flow of his well water, polluting it as a result. “We’re all a little leery about what’s happening behind us,” Villeneuve said of his neighbors’ shared concerns.
He sighs with frustration, but admits that developers have been upright and compliant with his requests.
“I really can’t say anything about them, other than the fact that I wish they would have chosen a different spot,” Villeneueve says.
“Hopefully everything just works out.”
Parry Sound Beacon Star By Stephannie Johnson Mar 12, 2010
SEGUIN TWP. – Seguin Township is lowering its tax rate.
Due to unexpected revenue and a drop in its contribution to the District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB), Mayor David Conn said the township is able to pass the savings on to its residents.
Seguin’s budget process began in September and Conn credits staff and their good management of the township’s finances for the reduction.
“We are reducing our tax rate and we’re able to do this because we generated an attractive surplus last year and that was (because of) some revenue we didn’t expect,” he said in an interview with the Beacon Star last month. “All the staff really did a good job controlling their budget. (Staff) came in under budget, we generated about $500,000 surplus so we can pass the majority of that on to the taxpayers.”
“When we started to put our budget together we were looking at maybe a maximum increase of maybe two per cent and we based it on certain assumptions of external levees and it turns out that our assumptions were conservative,” Conn said. “Our levies actually came in a little less than we thought so we can pass that on to the ratepayers as well.
“What this really means is our average assessment goes up next year by 5.4 per cent and by reducing the tax rate, it means that anybody’s house that went up the average will pay us no more dollar taxes than last year. Anybody that goes up by less than 5.4 per cent will pay us less; anybody that goes up more than 5.4 per cent will pay us more.”
In 2008, all Ontario properties were reassessed and any increases will be phased in, 25 per cent per year over a four-year period.
“What used to happen was when you got reassessed – bang – if your property happened to go up 100 per cent, that was too bad and that’s happened, you’d be surprised,” said Michele Fraser, Seguin Township’s chief financial officer. “Now, if your property goes up 100 per cent, you’re assessment will only go up 25 per cent per year, which is a lot easier for people. We had to take the 2009 tax rate and figure out what that should have been with the phased-in assessment. So we kind of take the amount of revenue we get, figure out what is actual growth and what is phased-in growth in the assessment. Essentially what that came to was that the average property in Seguin the assessment was going up from 2009 to 2010 by 5.43 per cent so we had bring the tax rate down. We went essentially from a municipal tax rate of .399024 per cent down to .37878 per cent.
“And that would generate without real growth – and when I say real growth I mean somebody’s built a new house, assessment has grown as opposed to increased. So essentially we got back to that tax rate and we’ve been able to leave it there.”
A lowered external levy from DSSAB, totaling a drop of $336,000, also contributed to the decrease, Fraser said.
“Municipalities uploading costs started in 2008 as they uploaded the costs to the province…this year, when DSSAB did their preliminary budget, they had flowed through a lot of that uploading so we were able to take advantage of that this year. That was very helpful for us, it amounted to approximately $336,000 in a decrease,” Fraser said.