Parrsboro council: tax survey; aboiteau patching; King St. water; Fancy farewell

Parrsboro uses US firm to survey residents on taxes

At its meeting tonight, town council discussed the online survey in which Parrsboro ratepayers are being asked if they favour charging a flat rate for fire protection and street lighting rather than financing these services from general property taxes. The town started the new flat rate system last year partly as a way of encouraging new home construction.

During the citizens’ forum after the meeting, Parrsboro ratepayer David Christie said the new system is unfair to property owners with lower assessments. In a later interview, he added that the taxes on the two properties he owns had increased by about one-third.

Former councillor David Howe has also strongly opposed the new system. In a Facebook posting, he says that if the flat rate is adopted “it will mean people in lower rated homes will pay, in total, a higher tax rate than the rest of us. Vote NO.”

At tonight’s meeting, councillors agreed more needed to be done to publicize the survey. Mayor Lois Smith noted that paper copies are available at the town hall and at the library.

Plugging the aboiteau

Town council also discussed using clay or other materials to plug leaks that are lowering water levels in the aboiteau. The additional materials would augment the tonnes of armour rock the provincial government paid to have dumped there to keep the water in.

Town clerk Ray Hickey said work to patch the leaks cannot begin until after June 1st.

During the citizens’ forum after the meeting, David Christie once again led the criticism. He wondered why the town doesn’t support removal of the barriers to let the river run free. He said that getting rid of the dam would be environmentally friendly and could allow for the development of a tidal power project.

However, Deputy Mayor Lisa Ward said she believes most residents like having the aboiteau for boating and other recreational uses.

King Street water

In other news, council has agreed to start replacing water and sewer lines on King Street. The project will be paid for using federal gas tax money and possibly infrastructure funds.

Residents have complained about debris in the water. The pipes could be a century old. However, there is no estimate yet on how much the project will cost.

Good luck to Rob Fancy

Journalist Andrew Wagstaff asked about setting the date for the by-election to replace Rob Fancy. The town clerk said the date can’t be set until after May 29th when Fancy’s resignation from council takes effect.

Mayor Smith took the opportunity to wish Fancy “the best of luck.” She praised his “hard work.” Councillor David Harrison said he would be missed around the table.

Fancy himself has not said publicly why he resigned. The mayor indicated it’s her understanding he wants to pursue other projects.

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