March 2, 2024

Parchment of the Autonomous

Unorganized Meeting September 9th 2023

First Meeting to become Monthly

The meeting of the 9th of September was tentative because of odd circumstances in the booking of the Hall. We were not allowed by the Hall Committee to use the Hall Sign for our event. This meeting, which is the first of the monthly meetings being planned, will continue to be held until we collect enough signatures for the petitions.

People have been concerned about the Ministry presence at these meetings. We have extended invitations for this first meeting and are hopeful for their presence at our meetings. However, they have already referred us to the legislation. This also in turn shows the depth of their assistance and concern.

Before 2020, the Ministry would have taken a more active role in our issues with the Reeve and Council. But because of the current federal and provincial political overreach, we seem to be totally on our own. The council does have the power to override the Reeve’s “veto” of our petition. The question is, does our current council have the “grit” to oppose the Reeve? It is at the best interest of the current council to neutralize the Gillies’ Reeve’s abuse of power that was clearly illustrated in the front page, head lined, Chronicle Journal article.

According to this article, the Ministry is “tight lipped” about their support, only that they are standing by the letter of the law when it comes to our community. The reality is, if the Minister of Municipalities and Housing was concerned about our present situation and the unprecedented tax grab of 25.8%, the Minister would use his influence to lower this levy, or at the very least, propose a less intrusive plan to the Reeve and Council to follow. But as of yet, the Minister has done nothing.

Questions about the progress and the Ministry’s response to our petition:

There is concern that the Ministry would retaliate after the Township would be disbanded. There is no reason to think this would happen and they are obligated to treat our Township like any other unorganized Township once the petition is successful.

Property Assessments in Ontario

Properties in Ontario are assessed every four years by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). Most properties are assessed using a market value-based approach.

Direct Comparison Approach

Residential properties are valued under this approach. This compares the sales of similar properties in the assessment year to determine a valuation for the property. The assessed value may not equal the actual market value or sale value of a property.

Cost Approach

Unique and rarely traded properties are valued under this approach. This uses the cost of the property if someone were to rebuild it to determine a valuation for the property minus depreciation due to age and neighborhood conditions. This includes the price of the land and the outbuildings. More geared as a land assessment rather than the property as a whole.

Income Approach

For properties that are dedicated to generating income like rental properties or offices, an income-based approach is used. This approach uses the income generated by the property as well as the sales price to determine its assessed value.

Because this can only be assessed every four years by the Province, the Municipality is the entity that can raise taxes every year, and has done so every year throughout the pandemic according to what I seen on my tax statement since 2020. Ask yourself: Did we get a tax rebate when they closed the Whitefish Elementary school? It sat dormant for months and we continued to pay.

If we are disorganized, we can harness this taxation nightmare and reevaluate how all properties are assessed on a municipal level which would dramatically lower your property tax, firstly by eliminating the top heavy administration, forming our own reorganized volunteer committee. This means certain duties to maintain the Dump, Roads, wages, and Fire Hall would be entrusted to an accountant, or a lawyer, to be monitored by the local volunteer committee to ensure efficiency, prevent abuse of position and monies accounting.

Kevin Holland is our Provincial Representative, and has taken a collective “powder”, leaving one of his assistants to answer. And of course these answers are generic in nature and mean nada. You would think a front page article from the Chronicle would flush Kevin Holland out of his “hiding space”, but to no avail, and a “no show” to this publicity opportunity, and stand up for his provincial constituency in Gillies. This article follows another Chronicle article explaining Kevin Holland’s support for 5G. Does this also mean Kevin Holland also supports the “strip mining” activities in Northwestern Ontario, with one of the mining exploration crosshairs aimed right towards our backyard in Gillies?

At present, the petition is approximately one third of eligible signatures. Signatures must be provided by people able eligible to vote and of legal age. Currently, according to the population in 2021, we have 1/3 of the vote in Gillies total population. This percentage is higher considering the amount of children in our community. So this is a strong showing.  If we continue to gather signatures, we will gather a majority very soon

Once we are unorganized, we as our own community decide how people in this area get taxed on the municipal level. We can also fight the tax levies imposed by MPAC assessments as a community in four year cycles.

5G and strip mining are also important issues that should be discussed. Remember, because these meetings are going to be every month, there will be chances to discuss other concerns in more detail, further giving the Ministry of Municipal and Housing, Kevin Holland, among others, a second chance to join the meetings and explain how exactly 5G is a safe technology and the exact plans for possible strip mining in the Gillies and surrounding areas.

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