PORT HOOD: Money matters were part of the agenda during Inverness County’s May 16 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Funding requests, loan guarantees and tax write-offs all found their way onto council’s agenda, and arguably the most interesting issue related to a pair of requests from two volunteer fire departments in the county.
Both the Port Hastings and Lemoine departments were looking for loan guarantees for new trucks. The Port Hastings crew asked for council’s assistance in backing a loan for a rapid response brush truck costing $110,000. Council passed a recommendation to do the necessary paperwork to support the loan.
The Lemoine department’s request was for a loan guarantee of $150,000 – at least, it was at first.
“The department requested that their loan guarantee be withdrawn due to the fact they received funds to cover the cost elsewhere,” said councillor Laurie Cranton, adding that he wasn’t at liberty to say which community member was footing the bill.
Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie and council were pleasantly surprised by the generosity.
“It’s a gift,” MacQuarrie said. “And it’s not necessary for us to do the loan guarantee, but maybe you could drop a name to the Port Hastings department.”
In addition to the loan guarantees, council is looking to back the North Mountain Cultural and Recreation Association in an upcoming project.
“They have a project to work on their beach and wharf access,” explained Donna MacDonald, the municipality’s director of recreation and tourism. “It’s a $4,000 project for which they have $1,500, so they’re asking the county for $2,500.”
Putting repurposed asphalt on the road to the beach, installing a guardrail around an oil tank, and repairing concrete erosion on the wharf are key parts of the repairs.
The money would come out of the District 6 discretionary fund.
Committee-of-the-whole passed a recommendation to council to green light the funding.
Lastly, council passed a recommendation to grant tax write-offs regarding interest to both the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital.
The hospitals paid their municipal taxes for 2018, but they did so late in the year. Discussions between the health providers and the province were taking place regarding grants-in-lieu of taxes, a legislated grant on eligible tax exempt properties. Those discussions caused the payment to be late.
“I believe they are in discussions now with the province to have the area rates that are levied against the hospitals included in the grant-of-lieus that the province provides to us,” said Tanya Tibbo, director of finance.
“If the province grants them the grant-of-lieu, we won’t be billing them,” she said. “We’ll bill the province.”
The write-offs total $4,589.97.