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Water rates going up, interim tax bills on the way

By Ken Johnston

Rainy River Town council barely formed a quorum, Monday evening, when only Councillors Larry Armstrong, Susan Carpenter and Mayor Deb Ewald showed up.
However, Councillor Gord Armstrong did listen in via telephone from his snowbird vacation.
Tax bills
Council passed its annual Interim Tax Levy. The interim levy allows the Town to collect tax revenues in the amount of 50% of last year's billing. Bills will be going out shortly and will be due on March 31, 2013.
Water bills to rise
At a special meeting on Jan. 28th, council approved an increase in water/sewer rates for the community. Councillor Larry Armstrong reported to council that they had to go up when the province reduced funding for operating. The town also has to do some capital improvements to the water plant as per regulations from the province.
"It amounts to about a 3% increase," explained Armstrong, "or about $6 quarterly."
Locum House nearly done
Even though Councillor Gord Armstrong listened into the meeting and was not able to legally vote on motions he did ask on a progress report on the Locum House.
Mayor Ewald told Armstrong that it is close, but that there are some issues with flooring in part of the house. "The building committee is going to have to go over there and have a look at it and get it fixed," said Ewald.
She noted that appliances have been ordered locally from Rainy River True Value/Sears. Then furnishings will be needed, but Ewald noted that there was furniture left from previous locum housing that is in decent shape. "We will use as much of it as possible, but we need to have a look at it and decide what to keep."
Infrastructure project
Council authorized Mayor Ewald and Clerk Veldron Vogan to sign an agreement on behalf of the Town of Rainy River with Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada for Community Infrastructure Improvement Funds for the replacement of Water Mains the entire length of First St.
Reserves tapped
Council passed a motion to confirm two transfers of reserve funds from the original RR Hydro sale.
The first one was in the amount of $38,090 to pay for the Official Plan Process and must be repaid over the next four years.
The second was in the amount of #3,370 to the Waterworks dept. to fund future capital works.
Council also confirmed that a budgeted transfer to the Sewer Dept. was not needed.
New brass at Fire Dept.
Two motions were passed appointing a new joint deputy fire chief and a new fire chief.
As agreed upon by Lake of the Woods Township, Dawson Township and the Town of Rainy River, Ashley Stamler replaced Randy Asselin as Dept. Chief.
Asselin was also promoted to Chief, replacing Gerald Armstrong.
Other business
•Council donated $100 to the Recreation Board's Family Day activities on Feb. 18th.
•A motion carried to send Mayor Ewald and Councillor Gord Armstrong to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association AGM on April 24-26, 2013 with expenses paid.
•A motion carried to ask the Rainy River District Municipal Association to pay the expenses of its executive members to NOMA. That would affect Mayor Ewald who was reelected President of the assoc. recently.
•Council approved a property tax vacancy rebate request from the Northern Lights Credit Union.