Living North of 7

Bancroft, one of the most beautiful and most talented areas!


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New tax has local Funeral Directors seeing red

Licensed Funeral Directors Tim Baragar and Jeff Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a new tax program that they say will make life difficult for estate representatives in Ontario.

Licensed Funeral Directors Tim Baragar and Jeff Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a new tax program that they say will make life difficult for estate representatives in Ontario.

Tim Baragar has been in the funeral business for a long time. He received his Funeral Director’s in 1982 and since 1996 he has operated Baragar Funeral Home in downtown Bancroft.

Baragar makes it clear that his service does not end at the cemetery. He and Funeral Director Jeff Neuman do their best to help families obtain pertinent documents and ensure that a loved one’s affairs are in order.

And that’s why Baragar and Neuman are sounding the alarm bells over a newly rolled-out tax that took effect on Jan. 1. The Estate Administration Tax (EAT) was part of the 2011 Provincial budget and the tax, its timelines and its penalties, are something these Funeral Directors think everyone needs to be aware of.

“It is frightening to see how this government has simply slipped this in without any discussion that I know of. It will have a major impact on all of us at some point,” Baragar says. “We need to be making lots of noise to hopefully get this revoked.”

The new tax program that Baragar finds frightening requires an executor to assess, appraise and value any and all property owned at the time of death.This EAT appraisal includes anything that is not passed directly to a spouse or passed through joint ownership. Assets that are being gifted to charities also need to be included in the valuation. The tax is then calculated and needs to be paid immediately to the Province of Ontario as a deposit. The calculation goes like this – $5 for each $1,000 of the first $50,000 and then $15 for each $1,000 of the value of the estate over $50,000. Read more


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Hastings County Member Municipalities Offical Candidate Lists

Hastings County is made up of 14 member municipalities and for ease I created the list of all members certified lists of candidates in your municipality, just click on the link. As this is a work in progress, we have tried to locate all municipalities and as soon as we can we will have the complete list (we saved you the headache 🙂

 

Town of Bancroftcountyofhastings

Township of Carlow Mayo

Municipality of Centre Hastings

Town of Deseronto

Township of Faraday

Hastings Highlands

Township of Limerick

Township of Madoc

Municipality of Marmora & Lake

Township of Stirling Rawdon

Township of Tudor and Cashel

Municipality of Tweed

Township of Tyendinaga 

Township of Wollaston


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A Bancroft view from inside the Ontario East Municipal Conference

northof7_Bancroft-OntarioThe Ontario East Municipal Conference is an annual conference on the topic of economic development  – something that is of particular interest to us at the Town of Bancroft.  Several councillors, the mayor and staff attended. There were many different sessions offered, covering a variety of topics;  we split up to take in most of the agenda. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet with other municipalities and presenters to gain more insight and discuss different options and possibilities.

The first keynote speaker, Ken Wong,  discussed Promoting Change which is something that we are keenly interested in as we have to find a new means of making Bancroft more economically stable and attractive to potential investors. All municipalities are competing to attract investment and economic growth and the bottom line is that we have to be experts in making Bancroft attractive to tourists, small home businesses and larger development. The message was similar to marketing advice that I have received for my own business, “what makes us different and more attractive than other municipalities and what will make an investor want to come to Bancroft”? What is our unique selling proposition? We have to be prepared to sell ourselves and fortunately, our staff and council have been working on doing this for several years. We begin the next month to develop a long-term strategic plan to guide our path forward and to develop direction that will help the town move forward in the future.

Another keynote speaker was Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs. His message of more funds now being available in Rural Economic  Development  grants is good news, but these grants require the municipality to put up a high percentage of the funds  for any project.  With services being downloaded on us from the provincial and federal levels,  rising policing costs and crumbling infrastructure repair costs,  it is often not possible for rural municipalities to come up with the money to participate in this program.  At this time, The Town of Bancroft unfortunately does not have the funds to make the best use of these available monies.

I attended a seminar on Community Energy and gained some information that I will pass on to the people involved in our Biomass project, who are close to making this project a reality. Community-based energy offers the advantage of making it more reliable and more attractive to investors as well as creating jobs that contribute to overall economic growth. I recently learned about a town in Germany of 2600 people who developed a goal of creating energy to reduce costs. They now produce 321% more energy than they need and garner income of $5.7 million US dollars from this production. I will come back to this later as it is an important concept for our future. Today’s municipalities are learning that we must lower expenses and find other avenues of income other than taxes.

I also attended a session on Developing Sustainable Communities. This is a concept that was initiated many years ago in Bancroft  and our

Model of the Train Station

Model of the Train Station

Sustainable Plan is researched by other communities as a guide for creating their own plan. Sustainability is an important concept in economic development as we cannot be creating initiatives that will not support themselves over the long-term. The significance of the concept of sustainability is that it points out that economic development will not be successful on its own. The overall community development also requires a strong social and cultural presence as well as respect for the environment. By following the long-term goals in our Sustainable Plan, we will develop a community that will provide the healthy and vibrant lifestyle that is needed to attract investment and young entrepreneurs. One example of this, and one of the loftier goals in the Plan,  was the recent rebuilding of our  historic train station. It is now a focal point of the town – with a world-class mineral museum and tourist information centre as well as a community hall and a centre to promote tourism which is so very important to our region.  It was rebuilt by a community effort – volunteer labour, donations of funds, goods and services, and government grant money. Continue reading


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City leaders gather in Ottawa for annual AMO conference

Ottawa, Ont (Source: OttawaCitizen) — Municipal leaders from across Ontario will be looking for the answer to a $6-billion question when they gather in Ottawa this week for the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) annual conference.

AMO president and Hamilton city councillor Russ Powers said there’s a $6-billion gap between how much municipalities can afford to spend on infrastructure and how much is needed to fix what’s ailing. The AMO wants to know what the province will offer in terms of constructing new sewers, building roads and bridges and fixing what can be salvaged, so that city governments can focus on paying for maintenance. “That will be high on the agenda,” he said.

AMO, which represents the interests of the 444 municipalities in this province, has three main goals for this year’s session: infrastructure, social services, and employment costs.

Powers expects the province to take note: “When you’ve got an organization or association that has consensus on a particular issue, the provinces recognize that voice,” he said.

The four-day conference, starting Monday, includes 60 sessions for delegates, including knowledge-sharing, planning and information sessions to keep everyone on the same page.

Sessions on green energy and sustainability will pull together best practices from successful programs and allow cities that are having issues to ask questions, Powers said.

“Creating sustainable communities is the focus of every municipality, no matter how small or large,” he said.

On a political note, Powers said the AMO will be looking for commitment and clarification from Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is expected to speak on Monday afternoon, along with Progressive Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak and New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath.

The Lankin-Sheikh report released last year provided the province with 100 suggestions for changes to social assistance. Powers said the AMO is supportive of the report’s findings, but would like to know how the province plans to pay for them.

“Some have suggested it will be the municipalities’ responsibility,” he said. “We want some clarification.”

Another major priority will be the soaring costs of municipal police and fire fighters due to what Powers called the closed-door arbitration sessions with full-time employees. “We’re asking for transparency and accountability in the interest arbitration,” he said. “The settlements tend to be cookie-cutter settlements … they have not taken into consideration the economic health of the community in question or settlements that have already been made with other bargaining units within the community,” he said.

Powers pointed to Fort Frances, Ont. which, faced with rising costs for full-time firefighters, chose to lay some off rather than raise municipal taxes by four per cent.

“We don’t want to be doing things like that,” he said. “The force has been established for a reason. It just gets to the point where the cost for a number of municipalities — particularly small, rural or northern communities — is unaffordable.”

Since taking the helm in August 2012, Powers said he has met with 14 different provincial ministers to air the municipalities’ concerns. But on Tuesday afternoon, city delegates will have a chance to ask questions directly of more than 20 ministers gathered in “what we lovingly refer to as The Bear Pit,” said Powers.

The open session with ministers on the hot seat will last two hours and Powers expects to get to about 30 or 40 questions.

“There’ll be no censoring at all and the ministers will get the questions straight out,” he said. “Hopefully they will be prepared … and, failing that, they’ll be able to do their homework and get back to the AMO later with the answer.”

Powers said the AMO has received 500 requests for a private audience with specific ministers. The AMO expects about 300 of those requests to be granted, with ministers setting aside 30 to 45 minutes for individual municipal delegates.

The conference runs through Thursday.

tesmith@ottawacitizen.com

twitter.com/tsmithjourno

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