‘Leave the mill rate ratio alone:’ Opportunity council

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

M.D. of Opportunity council has decided to leave well enough alone, when it comes to the mill rate ratio between residential and non-residential classes of taxpayer.

At council’s Nov. 22 meeting, chief financial officer Trina Mineault presented a few mill rate options for council’s consideration. Of course the mill rates don’t get set until the spring, just prior to tax notices being sent out. So this was a preliminary sort of thing, giving council a chance to set the direction for the budgeting decisions that will be made over the next two or three months.

The issue is the gap between non-residential and residential mill rates. The province has mandated that it not be more than five to one. Opportunity has been historically much higher than that, but in recent years has reduced the gap to 5.74:1. The question before council: should we go even further to close the gap?

Mineault had a couple of scenarios, with tax implications for residential ratepayers, as well as M.D. deficits.

But council wasn’t biting.

Although the government has said 5:1 is the goal, said reeve Marcel Auger, “No time frame has been set, and we’re considered non-conforming until it happens.” He suggested sticking with the ratio as it stands, for the time being.
“The province isn’t banging on our doors,” Auger added. “I’m comfortable where we’re at.”

Councillor Brendan Powell was on board with that: “I definitely don’t want to see an increase to residents,” he said.

Councillor Darlene Jackson was on the same page: “Leave it as it is,” she said.

So they did.

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