Town to end “Vacant Unit Rebates”

“Meals on Wheels” price increase

Town Council will end vacant unit and land rebates in a phased out three year period. Jim Brown, Director of Finance for the Town outlined the plan in a presentation to Council on Tuesday. At present owners of vacant buildings and land receive a rebate of taxes if requested. Under a new Provincial proposal, municipalities can now end that practice. The new plan would see a phase in over the next three years and end it entirely in 2020. Julie Docker Johnson told Council that the move is supported by the St. Marys BIA who say that the program is detrimental to the success of the downtown by rewarding property owners for having empty stores. However, Bob Sass told Council that some consideration should be given to him for his property on Water Street (across from Canadian Tire) because for various reasons he is limited to what he can do with his property. Under the new plan, the Town will phase in the plan by having a 20% in 2018, 10% in 2019 and eliminate the rebate entirely in 2020.

Council approved an increase in the fee for “Meals on Wheels”. The new price will see an increase from $8 to $8.75 effective July 1st. Stephanie Ische, Director of Community Services said that the last increase was in 2011 and costs to prepare the meals and transportation has risen in recent years. Ische said the program was started in the community in 1975 and they provide hot meals five days a week, which are prepared at the hospital.

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