By Cole Parkinson
With the Fortis Franchise Fee was sitting at six per cent, Vauxhall town council has approved an increase to eight per cent. At council’s regular meeting on Oct. 18, the subject was brought forward and councillors were able to discuss if they wanted to raise it, keep it the same, or lower the fee, and what the funds would be used for.
“I think we should increase it a bit,” stated Coun. Linda English. “I think eight per cent.”
With the franchise fee going towards different projects in the town each year, council were reminded where the funds went this year and last year.
“This year it’s the Hall. In 2020, it was infrastructure,” said Mindy Dunphy, assistant CAO.
Other councillors voiced their opinions on what they wanted to see moving forward.
“I’m Ok with it continuing to go to recreation. I guess the arena, as that’s our biggest recreational expense. I’d put it at 10 per cent,” added Coun. Ray Coad. “Our operating revenues are affected by inflation just like everything else.”
“Personally, I’m OK at keeping it at six per cent,” stated Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
“I would care a lot more about what the franchise fee was if it didn’t come right back on the taxpayers of the town anyhow,” said Coun. Richard Phillips. “It’s just another way to collect a tax by another name. I really don’t care if it’s zero, 20 per cent or anywhere in between because whatever we get just comes off of taxes and whatever we don’t get has to be taxed. It’s really irrelevant.”
Council though did not know exactly where they wanted the money to go towards. With budget season on the horizon, they were in favour of delaying the decision until then.
A motion to increase the Fortis Franchise Fee to eight per cent with allocation to be determined during budget discussions was carried unanimously.