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2014-01-24 at 16:48

No relief

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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The city won't be seeing any of the $59 million the province is giving to Northern towns hit by mill reassessments.

A small number of communities hard hit by pulp and paper mill reassessments will be getting one-time funding from the province. Towns like Dryden, which saw the assessed value of the Domtar mill drop more than 70 per cent, will see a substantial amount of money although mayor Craig Nuttall wouldn't confirm the dollar figure.

Thunder Bay city manager Tim Commisso said he and other officials fought hard to get the same assistance, but were told the city's diversity and the size of its tax base made it ineligible.

"I think they were pretty clear about that," Commisso said.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said he was disappointed with the decision.

"You can't treat one municipality different than another on this issue I feel," he said.
But he supports those towns that did qualify.

"Anything that's good for this region is going to benefit Thunder Bay," he said.

Resolute Forest products is looking to get the assessment on its Thunder Bay mill dropped by $40 million. An assessment review board hearing between the city and Resolute was set to begin on Monday but the chair has asked for a four-month delay while it awaits decisions in other appeals.

At issue is the way the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has chosen to assess mills. Commisso said assessments are now tied to production output, which doesn't make any sense.

"The model is flawed," he said.

Mayor Keith Hobbs said it would be similar to a family with a three-bedroom home asking for a tax assessment to be based on a one-bedroom home after the children move out.
"Where do you draw the line? It's just a ridiculous comparison," he said.

If the mill is reassessed it could cost the city millions of dollars. Places like Dryden recently raised its industrial tax rate by 15 per cent, something that Hobbs doesn't rule out for Thunder Bay if necessary.

"That's definitely on the radar," he said. "We may have to go there and I don't have a problem with that."

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Comments

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jonthunder says:
Are our local MPP's Gravelle and Mauro asleep at the switch? I commend our Mayor for being diplomatic and supporting others in the region; but come on Gravelle and Mauor, why is Thunder Bay being treated differently thatn others and being shafted by your government? You just screwed us!!
1/24/2014 5:18:52 PM
Killer says:
The city is going to have to make up the lost tax revenue somehow so get your wallets ready Thunder Bay because I smell a big tax increase coming to cover the shortfall. Maybe MPAC would be so kind to reduce my taxes but I think I have a better chance at winning lottery instead...
1/24/2014 5:26:57 PM
Tbay99 says:
Hobbs just cannot see the writing on the wall can he? The "bottomless pit" of tax money used for his empire building is drying up and the only option he has left is to borrow money and raise taxes. He truly will go down as one of the worst mayors this city has ever had, shameful.
1/24/2014 5:42:54 PM
supersavage says:
Thunder Bay asking for a handout? Why am I not surprised? When will the city recognize noone cares about Thunder Bay. We need to become more self sufficient. Buy local, support local workers and we will prosper together. Harper's nepotism + Wynne's incompetence is just time for Thunder Bay to become more independent!
1/24/2014 6:01:34 PM
donnybrook says:
When local retailers offer prices found in the big box stores, then I'll "buy local". I can't afford to spend more and get less in return to help a local proprietor out, sorry. It's every man for himself these days.
1/24/2014 8:23:20 PM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
@donny - just make sure you compare apples to apples when choosing not to buy local. Quite often the cheapest "thing" is found at the big box. The locals wont carry it because its such a piece of junk. Ive found some quality brand toy items that were carried at both big W and a local store on May St. In one case the item was cheaper locally, the other time it was like $2 more (on a $40 toy) locally. That $2 outa my pocket keeps more than $2 in the community (as compared to the big store).
1/25/2014 2:56:15 PM
donnybrook says:
No argument there, if I was looking for a better quality item or something a little more specialized, like biking equipment, I'd go to a local business for sure. I was referring more to general items, groceries etc.
1/25/2014 8:50:11 PM
Eastender says:
If mpac is going to asses industry based on earnings, then I would like to see my property tax based on my earnings, which only seems fair. Then I would be able to afford to stay in my house after I retire and my level of earnings goes down.
Seems fair to me.
1/24/2014 6:40:01 PM
CM Punk says:
Come on!
We are gonna get this new events centre built and everything will grand.
Plus, the upcoming mining boom will be the savior for this region as well. :)

We should all sing a pretty song and hold hands on the grassy fields.

I pay almost 10k in taxes for my house so I am good. Anyways, WWE gave me number 1 for Sunday's Royal Rumble which means I need to run the table. I will prove I am the best in the world.

Its clobbering time!
1/24/2014 6:42:57 PM
Ranma says:
So while we have had one of our local politicians in cabinet, we continue to get treated like we do not exist. It's awesome to know that so much attention is being paid to our little corner of Ontario.
1/24/2014 7:02:19 PM
Jack Frost says:
Now guess who's all on the hook to make up this serious huge loss of TAX dollars to build all the many unwanted and unnecessary legacy monuments by Mr Hobbs's and City Council.

LOL !!
1/24/2014 8:09:01 PM
Tiredofit says:
Not to worry, the city has lots of home owners they can continue to tax the hell out of.... Have to borrow $8 million to fix a single road, but they say we can afford a multi-gazillion dollar multi-plex... No FED or PROV money for it? No problem, just tax the home owners, apparently they have deep endless pockets!

Now, place face I palms of your hands and just shake, maybe we will all wake up and it will be a bad dream.....,,
1/24/2014 10:44:47 PM
progress now says:
Notice this quote by Mayor Hobbs:

"You can't treat one municipality different than another on this issue I feel," he said.

This is the same sort of nonsense that we went through with flood funding.

Mr. Hobbs, are you saying that the province is cheating Thunder Bay and that there is deliberate malice here? I ask this because I suspect the same formula being applied to Dryden is the one applied to us...but the situation is Dryden is very different from ours.

The mayor who doesn't like to point fingers just can't seem to help himself.

I agree with the posters above. City accounting is much too optimistic on the revenue side. Their ambition does not match our reality.

When will the community stop this?
1/24/2014 11:12:31 PM
gone for good says:
So Resolute wants a break.
So did we and they told us to go pound sand.
The mills still the same size. They make more off hydro then they do on newsprint.
I remember when we used to make 750k a day there. Won't be long when this place is gone for good. I'm happy to say I received around a half a mill from them through pension windup and 4 year comp claim. Hows it feel there Dave? After all you did to us 600 faithfull.
Sucks to be you Resolute.
I would love to see the city win this one.
1/24/2014 11:39:37 PM
tsb says:
The provincial government has almost no control over MPAC. It is a private company. You can thank Harris, Hudak and the Progressive Conservative party for that: they're the ones that privatized it in 1998.

This assessment? That's privatization in action.

Your higher tax bill in spite of lower tax rates? That's privatization in action.

Vote PC?
1/25/2014 12:16:59 AM
Watchful says:
Stop whining, if we can build all these big items, why should we be bailed out of anything
1/25/2014 12:52:03 AM
Jack Frost says:
Stay tuned for more ludicrous and ridiculous news as even more insanity from city hall is yet to come.

LOL !!
1/25/2014 11:27:17 AM
William jogns says:
@tsb
If these Conservative/ Mike Harris policies were so bad why did the Liberals keep them. Could it be that the 3 term Liberals agree with the policy. It has been 10 years of Liberals sniveling and whining about Mike Harris policies but they never change them.
1/25/2014 1:14:50 PM
Kam River says:
We have only one Paper Mill left out of 4, Resolute
But the Mayor and Council under order from city Admin are working hard to close it.
Resolute was fairly assessed by MPAC, but the Mayor and Council are fighting his because they need the money for the legacy projects.
(1) Youth Centre
(2) Multi Plex
(3) Moving the Art Gallery
(4) Keeping place like the conservatory open to keep the unions happy.
Too many people have lost their jobs at Resolute and many more have had their salary cut.
The mayor does not care, he is too busy doing what city admin tells him to do.
1/25/2014 5:51:08 PM
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