Saturday, July 13, 2024

Coulonge taxes increase

The municipal council of Fort Coulonge held a special meeting last Wednesday to adopt the town’s budget for the fiscal year of 2024. Service taxes will rise from $1,607 to $1,759 per unit, an increase of 9.5 per cent compared to 2023. The property tax rate will rise from 0.70 to 0.75 per $100 of assessment, an increase of 7.15 per cent. For a single-family home valued at $100,000, the total increase in the tax bill will be $202, representing an increase of 8.8 per cent.
The public safety tax alone will rise by 22 per cent in 2024, to nearly $300 per housing unit annually. General manager of the municipality, Naomie Rivet, said she had no explanation from the MRC to justify the increase. The town’s expenditure for 2024 will reach over $3 million for the first time, an increase of around 6 per cent compared to 2023.
Following an article published in THE EQUITY (Tensions rise at Fort Coulonge council meeting over debt to local business, Sept. 13, 2023), some residents decided to take matters into their own hands, obtaining 410 signatures on a petition filed on Oct. 4 demanding that the city pay the amount owed to Romain Petit Moteur. To the applause of local citizens in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting, in a unanimous decision the council brought forward a new proposal to pay Romain Petit Moteur the full amount due of $6,521. Joel Romain and Debbie Laviolette said they were relieved and pleased with the outcome of this case which had taken on proportions that affected their lives and families.
A first vote held at the May 4, 2022 meeting had denied the company’s right to receive the amount due, based on a legal opinion stating that the town was not obliged to pay invoices that were more than two years old.
On a separate matter, a number of exchanges took place concerning residential development in the municipality. A local entrepreneur, Vic Sauriol, was turned down by council for a development proposed for the end of Dempsey Street. Some elected officials opposed the initial project because the proposal included the town ceding two lots to the developer who planned to build a dozen residences.
While the announcement of the refusal of the Sauriol project was one of the items on the agenda, the mayor and some councillors showed a certain openness to discussing the details again in order to encourage housing development in the area.
“With tax increases of 9 per cent in 2024, what’s going to happen in 2025 if there’s no development?” asked former mayor Hector “Junior” Soucie at the meeting.

Pierre Cyr
Fort Coulonge Dec. 6, 2023


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