Pankow pleased with ROMA mention by Premier

January 30, 2018 by
Revitalizing Beckwith St. is a priority for Council.

Revitalizing Beckwith St. is a priority for Council.

Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow says the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference which he attended with councilors Dawn Quinn, Chris Cummings and CAO Malcolm Morris, was very successful.

The Smiths Falls delegation was pleasantly surprised when, on the first day of the conference, the premier singled out Smiths Falls as a community on the rise.

“It was very surprising and in a very positive fashion to see Smiths Falls highlighted as a community reinventing itself and looking at the future with much more hope and optimism and the vision of prosperity than we were just a few years ago,” said Mayor Pankow.

Like neighbouring communities, Smiths Falls Councillors were at the conference to raise the town’s profile and lobby for attention as they seek provincial grants.

“We’re always working with Queen’s Park in trying to attract attention and support for grant applications….so it’s always positive to know that Queen's Park knows we’re here and headed in the right direction,” said Pankow.

The town was at the conference to learn what the province has planned and to lobby for funding for some key initiatives, such as the Beckwith Street rehabilitation.

“The province has already done a really good job on Hwy !5 from here to Kingston, widening the road and removing hills and curves and the same from Smiths Falls to Carleton Place so Beckwith Street is the missing link,” explained Pankow.

The town has already secured funding for the below ground work on Beckwith but is still waiting to hear back on whether it has secured Connecting Links funding for the above ground work.

Another priority for Smiths Falls and neighbours is how MPAC conducts assessments.  As things stand many municipalities find themselves having to reimburse property owners huge sums of multi-year taxes because of over assessments.

The difficulty is that by law, municipalities have to charge taxes based on assessments but when those are challenged it can take years for MPAC to sort out the challenge and that can leave municipalities on the hook for hundreds of thousands in rebates that can play havoc with municipal budgets.

“I suggested that they set a time limit but it’s hard to say how soon or if there will be any reforms, “ concluded Pankow.