Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tax Levy Stays The Same

There will be no tax increase in International Falls in 2014.

City council gave formal approval to its budget and levy at its meeting last night.

Councillor Cynthia Jacksa says an increase in local government aid from the State prevented a potential increase in the levy.

Overall, the city will spend just over $14-million, with about levy staying at $2.1 million.

Cost Study Suggested

Water and sewer rates will go up in International Falls next year.

The five per cent increase is the second of a three-year plan.

Koochiching County Commissioner Wade Pavleck says  now might be the time for the city to consider a costing study involved all those impacted by the city's rates to see if some savings can be identified.

Falls Mayor Bob Anderson says a costing study is something they have budgeted for in 2014.

Councillor Cynthia Jacka believes it may come down to getting more users of the system to bring down rates.

Ontario To Go Ahead With Pension Reform

Ontario is set to go it alone with pension reform after Ottawa blocked a consensus on reforms to the program.

Following a meeting with his provincial counterparts in Meech Lake, Quebec, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says now is not the time to move on the pension issue.

Ontario Minister Charles Sousa disagrees, saying the province will move forward to implement a "made-in-Ontario alternative" to protect Ontario workers in their retirement.

Details on how that will happen are still to come.

Festive RIDE Stats

OPP's stepped up enforcement on drunk driving this month has resulted in seventeen motorists in northwestern Ontario being charged with impaired driving.

Just one charge has been laid in the Rainy River district.

There have also been 13 license suspensions issued to drivers blowing in the "warn range."

Three of those in our district.

This is the fourth week of the Festive RIDE program that concludes after New Years Day.

Ambulance Service Helps Salvation Army

The Salvation Army in International Falls is benefiting from the generosity of residents in that city.

Calls to fill an ambulance helped bring in a variety of gifts, food items and clothes.

Paramedic Nathan Meyers was happy with the first ever drive.

Meyers says along with the gift items children's clothing and food, over 721-dollars was also received for the Salvation Army.

Province Expands Dental Program Eligibility

More children in Ontario will be able to see a dentist free of charge.

The province is expanding the eligibility for its "Healthy Smiles Ontario" program, it says will help more than 70-thousand children and youth in low income families

Beginning in April, families with one child must have a net income of $21,500 or less to qualify.

The figure increases $1,500 for each additional child.

Crash Victim Named

The man killed in a single vehicle crash on Highway 11-17 near Shabaqua has been identified as 55-year-old John Lackey of Keswick, Ontario.

Provincial Police say Lackey was a passenger in a pick-up truck that rolled over Sunday afternoon and was struck in the back by a large fuel tank that came through the bed of the truck.

The 27-year-old driver was transported to hospital in Thunder Bay with unknown injuries.

Commissioner To Retire

Ontario's Top Cop is stepping down.

OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis has announced he's retiring at the end of next March, ending a 35-year policing career.

Lewis joined as constable in 1978 in Kapuskasing, becoming Commissioner in August 2010.

A search for his replacement is underway.