Gold Country Community Society is moving ahead with its plans to have its annual funding collected through TNRD taxes while it negotiates with Merrit and Logan Lake, who opted out of the taxation.
Ashcroft and Cache Creek Councils, at their Jan. 10 meetings, both gave their consent to the adoption of TNRD GCCS Financial Contribution Service Establishment Bylaw 2333. TNRD directors gave the bylaw its first three readings at their Dec. 2 meeting.
Ashcroft Administrator Michelle Allen advised her Council that the consent was just a formalization so the TNRD could proceed with the bylaw: Council had already passed a motion last October to participate in the bylaw.
Coun. Kormendy asked what will happen with the funding rates without Logan Lake and Merrit. “How will they contribute?” she asked.
Gold Country director, Coun. Alice Durksen replied that the $100,000 the Society was originally asking for was reduced to $70,000 so the organization could operate without funding from Merrit and Logan Lake. A Gold Country committee headed by businessman Ben Roy is negotiating with those communities for a membership fee. Once those fees are collected, they’ll be added to the Society’s operational funding.
Under the new structure, Ashcroft’s annual membership fee will increase from $3,000 to $3,623.
“I thought initially it was a lower amount,” said Kormendy.
“Actually, higher,” said Mayor Andy Anderson, adding that the figure was around $4,000 when the Society was hoping to collect $100,000.
Cache Creek Councillor and Gold Country director Ida Makaro assured her Council that its new $2,700 fee wouldn’t change regardless of what Logan Lake and Merrit decide.
Four towns and five electoral areas have already indicated that they will participate in the new tax structure. Cache Creek, Clinton and Lytton will all pay less than $3,000 per year: Lytton will pay less than $1,000.
“The problem I have with TNRD is it starts at $70,000 and they’ve worded it so it can go up or down,” said Coun. Wyatt McMurray. He was also worried that the members would lose their voice in the Society without direct funding.
Mayor John Ranta replied that the rural and municipal directors would still have to approve any change to the bylaw, and they wouldn’t do that without talking to their councils first.
Ranta added that many of the electoral district fees have jumped to over $10,000 because of a change in the way utilities are now assessed.