Sharbot Lake Property Owners’ Association
Annual General Meeting
Held at the Oso Town Hall
Sat 17 July 2004
Peter Moore, Member-at-large, Sharbot Lake Property Owners Association, opened the meeting at approximately 10:05 a.m. on July 17th, 2004. The members of the Executive were introduced and it was noted that Mr. Ken Waller was absent and away on vacation. Approximately 33 members were in attendance; this constituted a quorum and the meeting was officially convened.
Mr. Paul King welcomed the members and introduced the Executive. As well Mr. King introduced and congratulated the members of the Tax Committee for their efforts. John Pariselli, Val Moore, Bill Paton, Roger Henry, Bill Wilson and the Chairman Rem Westland undertook a major task of investigating the present municipal taxation process and put forth some considerable effort in educating the members and general public on the entire taxation process.
Adoption of the 2003 AGM Minutes
The minutes of the last AGM were read. A motion was moved by Bill Riggs and seconded by Jane Berryman, that the minutes be accepted as read. Carried.
Election of Executive
The position of Vice-president is open as well as the 2 positions for the member-at-large. Rem Westland was nominated for Vice-president and no other member stepped forward for nomination. Lloyd Dalton has stepped down as a member-at-large as has Peter Moore. Bill Wilson accepted the nomination as a member-at-large and no other member placed his or her name for nomination. A motion was moved by Al Romaniuk and seconded by Luc Salvador, that the nominations be accepted.
Financial and Membership Reports
Peter Moore on Ken Waller’s behalf presented a brief report on the finances of the Association including the number of present members 268 and the health of the finances. In addition, Peter reminded the membership that a number of the areas remain without area representatives and sought volunteers. Moved, seconded and carried that the financial report be accepted as read. Diane and Jim Thompson stepped forward and accepted the role as representatives for the Burney Point area.
Bill Wilson began his presentation with acknowledgment of the efforts of Joanne and Jim Murphy for their excellent assistance in maintaining the site to this point. Bill is the new SLPOA web site administrator.
An overview of the web site was given focusing on the sections containing committee documents, articles and public input. Further discussed was the use of the community events calendar and the need for input from members. A request was placed for historical photos of the area.
The president made a request for volunteers to take on the task of running the Annual Fish Derby for 2005. No person stepped forward to accept the role of Derby coordinator so the meeting left the matter in abeyance.
Year in Review
The President reviewed activities of the past year. The Association through its Lake Stewards continued to participate in the water quality-monitoring program of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Our efforts have been focused on municipal taxation process and to this end a number of quality articles have been published. Our appreciation to Jule Brison of the Frontenac News for her interest and willingness to aid in these efforts by publishing these articles for the general public’s interest. Planning for another undertaking of the Watershed Watch water quality studies would be undertaken through the Mississippi Valley Conservation.
Tax Committee - Rem Westland
Rem Westland reported on the activities of the Tax Committee in the previous year. In short, the Committee decided to mandate itself with an educational and informational role. This resulted in a number of articles in the Frontenac News, and a number of meetings between Tax Committee members and the Municipality - including two meetings with the Mayor. The Tax Committee decided to follow a path that would keep the risk of a confrontation between the SLPOA and the Municipal government - and other taxpayers - to a minimum. We believe we achieved the level of cooperation we desired.
Rem then presented two fundamentally different ways (though fully compatible with each other) to proceed. In the year to come the Committee could take the tax questions and challenges to the Municipal government; or, the Committee could seek to form alliances with other organizations like the SLPOA and with FOCA to challenge provincial government tax regulations and downloading. There was some discussion about these options among attendees at the meeting. The question of which approach to follow was then put to the meeting for a vote. With a majority of 19 to 14 it was decided that the Tax Committee should focus on tax issues and downloading at the provincial level. It was felt that if the provincial government provided leadership on tax issues, and if the province were to fund municipalities better to meet their various challenges, the tax burden could be reduced for everyone without setting up a debate within a small community such as Sharbot Lake.
One question from the floor, however, was pursued with the Mayor after Rem's presentation. The issue was: what is the amount in the municipality's budget that is truly discretionary? It was said from the floor that, if the discretionary amount were clearly displayed in the budget, the SLPOA would at least know the room within which the Municipal government can maneuver. Rem advised the meeting that, if there were an interest in this among Tax Committee members, the determination of what amount in the current budget is truly discretionary would be made. He concluded by advising those attending that the Tax Committee will run again for the next year. He will stay in the Chair for one more round, but asked that interested members of the SLPOA put forward their names for inclusion among Committee members.
Guest Speaker -Mayor Bill MacDonald
The Mayor indicated that he understood the focus of the SLPOA on taxes. He explained that the Township is responsible for policing, roads (incl. Hwy 509, etc), childcare, land planning, ambulance, etc and that many of these responsibilities had been downloaded from the Provincial Gov’t without sufficient financial support. The Mayor also explained that for all taxes collected by the municipality they transfer 20% to the County, 20% to School Boards, 5% to Conservation Authorities and retain 55%. Major issues for Central Frontenac are policing costs (up 4%) and the requirement to upgrade the Fire Equipment. In the latter case, residents will face increased insurance costs if the municipality does not act.
On the subject of property assessments the Mayor indicated that it is a fact that property vales are rising and the MPAC Market Value Assessment system will reflect this. He cited an example in Kennebec Twp where an offer was received that was 10% higher than the listed price. On the issue of replacing Stone Bridge he commented that there has been much talk about cheaper options but that these had been fully explored and rejected.
During the Mayor’s question period, four issues were raised:
- Has the Council considered a non-resident levy?
The Mayor indicated this has been brought up before but is not presently planned.
- Can the Mayor provide a breakdown of permanent vs seasonal residents and their tax contributions?
The Mayor agreed to investigate.
(Editors note: Mayor later advised that he could not provide the details requested.)
- Can Central Frontenac Council commit to a 0% increase in discretionary budget items recognizing that mandatory or legislated budget items are outside of their control?
The Mayor did not commit to this request.
Open Forum: no issues were raised.
Meeting was adjourned.
Prepared by: Paul King
Approved by Rem Westland, Vice-president