Buffalo Point Cottage Owner’sMeetings Minutes

Minutes of AGM May 19, 2013

Buffalo Point Cottage Owners
Minutes of AGM May 19, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
Middlebro, MB


1. Lee Delorme welcomed everyone to the meeting and gave thanks to the directors and the members of the sub-committees for all their dedicated and hard work. Lee went over the agenda and a few amendments were made and approved.

2. Lee then introduced Linda Brown, who gave a brief presentation on the annual picnic. The picnic has been changed to July 6, 2013. Linda asked for volunteers for the picnic and for a co-ordinator as she is stepping down from that position. She also asked for donation of prizes for the silent auction. Linda will receive these donations.
Lee then introduced Paul Edwards.

3. Paul Edwards, our association legal representative, gave the group an update on the legal proceedings. Please refer to pages 6 and 7 of this document for a written summary of the litigation update. Paul outlined that the court proceedings should continue to ensure that the democratic rights and interests of cottage owners is preserved within or without a property tax regime. Since 1976 when the Buffalo Point resort got its start from Doug Struthers and his colleagues from the Lake of the Woods Investment Company, cottage owners have had joint participation with the BPFN/BPDC in the annual budgeting process and the approval of capital projects which benefited cottage owners. Any disputes always maintained a binding arbitration option which was evidenced in the 1999 year’s disagreements over annual maintenance fees, so our current litigation process is not new to the BP resort. Disagreements also arose in the 2007 year stemming from disagreements over the lagoon upgrade and subsequent assessments. This latter disagreement lead to the negotiation of the 2008 agreement which was designed to be a long term cooperation arrangement and it is this very same agreement that the BPFN/BPDC is attempting to nullify via the property tax regime.
Paul outlined the next steps going forward and gave the group anticipated target dates for court hearings. The next court hearing is set for May 31, 2013 wherein we oppose the BPFN/BPDC’s injunction against the association’s arbitration rights under the 2008 agreement. Details are as follows:

Law Courts Building
408 York Ave
10 AM

Paul fielded many questions regarding the various litigation processes and the property tax regime.

4. Lee Delorme, association president, made an additional presentation regarding the litigation processes and the most recent propaganda mail out by the BPFN.

a). Lee emphasized that much like we recommended in the July 2012 town hall meeting, it is essential that the association membership remain united and follow the recommendation of legal counsel as well as the advise our our political representatives. In this regard, Lee passed along regrets from Senator Don Plett who was originally scheduled to speak at the AGM on behalf of Minister Vic Toews and himself however, he was in attendance this weekend at the funeral for long time associate Senator Findlay.

b). Lee advised the group that two court decisions were recently posted on the association website, buffalopoint.org and encouraged cottage owners to read them. One case relates to our federal court case wherein the BPFN challenged the BPCOA right to represent the cottage owners in a judicial review, so if the tax system is so fair and equitable why is the BPFN challenging this basic right.

c). Lee also reminded that group that at the beginning of the tax regime we were given three basic conditions for the property tax regime.

1. There would be no school tax and we essentially received an unofficial school tax with the first year mill rate of 30.97
2. A no discrimination clause, i.e. all owners and residents would be subject to tax. Last month the FNTC approved the BPFN’s right to exempt all properties owned by the BPFN and the BPDC including the marina, golf course, convention centre, etc. This effectively leaves the cottage owners as the sole taxpaying base which includes small number of First Nations cottage owner.
3. A Taxpayer Representation Law (TRL) that would not only rival our rights and benefits as outlined in our 2008 agreement but enhance them. We have no TRL and the BPFN has filed an injunction against our request for arbitration under the 2008 agreement.

Lee also reminded the group that Mr. Thunder signed the 2008 agreement on behalf of the BPFN as well as the BPDC. He also paid 50% of the legal costs to draft the agreement. He nominated his representatives to our Community Committee. Furthermore, he agreed to the two year freeze on the annual assessment fees using the 2008 agreement and adhered to the agreement albeit for the first year only. The 2008 agreement was also worded to have it apply to the determination of annual maintenance fees or taxes.

d). Lee briefly addressed the most recent propaganda mail out that cottagers received this week. The BPFN is advocating the broad range of government services provided by the new tax regime. lee did a comparison of the budgets negotiated with the BPDC in the recent two year freeze with the budgets approved for the BPFN under the tax regime. The categories of services remain the same and the dollar amounts are comparable the only differences are as follows:

1. in the 2008, agreement cottage owners pay 55% of government services and the BPDC/BPFN pay the remaining 45%. It is now apparent that cottage owners are being expected to pay 100% of the government service costs.
2. added administration costs and executive salaries relating to the tax system
3. official contingency capital reserves versus the unofficial reserves as provided for in the 2008 agreement

It is also worth noting that Aboriginal affairs pay the BPFN $200,000 to $300,000 in community infrastructure monies every year as well.

e). Lee also outlined reasons for continuing our litigation efforts:

1. preservation of our democratic rights as provided for in the 2008 agreement
2. correction of all property tax errors and excess taxation. For example, Bob Brown the assessor testified at the appeals tribunal that a revised and all inclusive assessment roll was being issued to the BPFN to include all unsold lots and omitted BPFN properties so that revised tax billings could be made. We have still not seen the revised tax assessment roll nor have we been advised of any tax reassessments for the 2012 year.
3. reverse the collateral damage done to property values since the introduction of the tax regime which is by all accounts in the 20% range
4. taxation without representation decreases property values
5. the 2012 mill rate of 30.97 and the 2013 mill rate of 17 are still not comparable to mill rates in the RM of Piney at 13.12 and 13.6 respectively
6. no dispute resolution options. Lee reminded the group how upset cottage owners were at the 2007 lagoon assessment for $2000. The paving of roads, city water, city sewer systems are possible infrastructure projects under a property tax regime and the corresponding lot assessments would far exceed the lagoon assessment.
7. the mill rate will not in all likelihood stay at the 17 range because for the following reasons:
-gross revenues generated from cottage owners using the 2008 agreement = $290,000
-gross revenues generated from cottage owners using a mill rate of 13.12 = $305,000
-gross revenues generated from cottage owners using a mill rate of 17 = $414,000

Consider the costs of administering a property tax regime, i.e. costs for executive and tax administrator positions, property tax assessors, appeal tribunal, audit and accounting and other administrative costs. In other words, the net cash benefit to the property tax regime with the sole tax base being cottage owners is questionable?
8. Pay lawyers $1000 today versus paying excess taxes for 70 years under a sub-lease


5. Cottagers were asked to vote on the following recommendation from the lawyer and the association executive by a show of hands using one vote one cottage basis:

- A vote to continue the litigation processes as outlined by Paul Edwards along with a further financial contribution of $400 per cottager for the litigation fund?

BY A SHOW OF HANDS THE MEMBERSHIP IN ATTENDANCE OF WELL OVER 200 PEOPLE UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSED THE RECOMMENDATION.

In view of the fact that the 2013 tax bills is due by month end and coupled with the fact that the majority of our court actions will take place in August/September/October, members were provided with the following payment options:
- one current cheque for $400
- four monthly post-dated cheques for $100 each starting June 1st
- eight monthly post-dated cheques for $50 each starting June 1st

Cheques can be mailed to the BPCOA at PO Box #1082

6. Secretary Report by Gloria Jackson, motion to accept the minutes of 2012 AGM as posted on the Buffalo Point Cottage Owner’s Website. Motion was seconded and carried.
Gloria, also, asked for email addresses of cottage owners as this is a very quick and efficient means of communicating.

7. Financial Report by Veronica Johnson, motion to accept the Financial Report as read. Motion seconded and carried.

8. There were two vacancies of officers on the board. Motions to nominate Mike Millner and Tim Picken were made. These nominations were seconded and carried.

9. Tim Picken talked about the Manitoba Association of Cottage owners and the advantages of joining. Vote was taken as to whether to join this association. The outcome of this vote was to join the Manitoba Association of Cottage Owners. Tim Picken was going to look after this.

10. New Business

a. Media contact and public demonstrations
Lee advised the group that under advice of counsel, we have rejected requests from the media for interviews and news releases thus far because our resolution will be in a court of law and not in the public arena. Similarly, the same principle applies to various forms of public demonstrations and displays of civil disobedience. After some brief discussions, a vote was taken and it was basically unanimous that the status quo should be maintained.
b. Jim Strandlie spoke of how things have played out in history, when there are taxes with no representation and maybe what a few of our options are going forth.

11. Announcements –
Gloria Jackson spoke of the Ladies Golf starting on May 21 depending on the weather, and all ladies are welcome to join.
She also spoke of the upcoming CancerCare Tournament that the Ladies Golf league puts on every year. This year the date is August 9, 2013 and for the ladies to get their paid entries in soonest as it fills up very quickly. We, also, would welcome any sponsorships or donations of support and prizes.

Lee asked for a volunteer to organize the Cottage Owners golf tournament.

12. Lee thanked everyone for coming and the meeting was adjourned.

BUFFALO POINT COTTAGE OWNERS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – MAY 19, 2013
UPDATE ON BPFN PROPERTY TAXATION LITIGATION


BACKGROUND

In June of 2012, the BPFN in conjunction with the First Nations Taxation Commission (“FNTC”) imposed a system of property taxation on the members of the BPCOA. Despite various explicit public promises that were made by both the BPFN and the FNTC, the new laws imposed an unacceptably high tax rate and purportedly nullified or restricted all previous legal agreements between the BPFN and/or the BPDC on the one hand and the BPCOA and/or the individual cottage owners on the other. According to the BPFN, under the new laws the BPCOA and/or its members are not entitled to any meaningful participation or real influence within the taxation system, or with regard to how much they would be made to pay. Therefore, it was decided that the BPCOA would use all of the legal tools at its disposal to force the BPFN and BPDC to adhere to the legal agreements and promises they made respecting the cottagers and the BPCOA. The 2012 property taxes were paid under protest and various legal proceedings were initiated. They are:

1) Arbitration under the Individual Sub-Leases (Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench)
Each cottager was asked to sign a “Referral to Arbitration” form and submit it to the BPDC, their landlord. By doing so, each cottager was asserting their rights under their lease to have an independent panel of three arbitrators determine if the imposition of the new tax laws was a breach of the terms of their lease. Each individual form submitted by the cottagers nominated the same arbitrator to the panel of three that will hear the case, the intent being that only one arbitration proceeding would be needed to decide the issue.
The BPDC responded to this by beginning a Court action to halt the arbitration before it began. The BPDC argued that the arbitration proceedings were invalid, because it was the BPFN that was charging the tax and not the BPDC; further, the BPDC said that it was permitted to choose to stop charging the cottagers annual fees as it had in years past, instead allowing the BPFN to start charging property tax.
This Court action resulted in two appearances in Court, on the 22nd of August and on the 24th of September, 2012. By decision dated December 20, 2012, the Court decided that the arbitrations could go ahead. The full decision of Mr. Justice Martin, which is very supportive of the BPCOA, is available here: http://canlii.org/en/mb/mbqb/doc/2012/2012mbqb341/2012mbqb341.html
The BPCOA was awarded costs in this action, although they have yet to be paid. The arbitration has been held off until a result in the Court action that was initiated under the 2008 Agreement has been determined (see below).

2) Arbitration under the 2008 Agreement (Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench)
On August 21, 2012, the BPCOA initiated a Court case to force the BPFN and BPDC to go to arbitration under the 2008 Agreement, which is the agreement in place designed to govern the relationship between the BPFN, BPDC, and the cottagers. A key component of the 2008 Agreement is the cooperative setting of amounts charged to the cottagers, with recourse to an independent arbitrator in the case of disagreement. The BPFN and BPDC are now refusing to recognize the validity of the 2008 Agreement. This matter went in front of a judge on February 7, 2013, at which time the judge strongly recommended that the parties make an attempt to negotiate a solution rather than proceed with litigation; it was therefore agreed that a “Judicially Assisted Dispute Resolution” or “JADR” would be tried. (See below for a brief summary of the JADR.)
Following the failure of the JADR, the hearing was rescheduled to Friday, May 31, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. at the Winnipeg Courthouse for the judge to hear arguments. A decision is typically released 4 to 6 weeks after a hearing, although this can be longer in the summer. The decision will be uploaded to the BPCOA website when it is released. The judge will only be deciding if arbitration can proceed under the 2008 Agreement, not the larger issue of whether or not the BPFN’s tax laws breach the 2008 Agreement.

3) Judicially Assisted Dispute Resolution
Due to the confidential nature of settlement negotiations, we cannot provide specifics of the negotiations. Both sides met with a Queen’s Bench judge, once with the BPCOA and BPFN representatives present (April 15, 2013) and once with just the lawyers present (April 22, 2013). The parties were unable to reach an agreement, and therefore the JADR was terminated in favour of proceeding with the hearing now scheduled for May 31st.

4) Statement of Claim (Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench)
On the 9th of January, 2013, the BPCOA filed a Statement of Claim in the Court of Queen’s Bench on behalf of all of the members of the BPCOA. This was done for the sole reason that the new BPFN tax laws contain a section that states that all taxes paid, even though they may have been paid under protest, are deemed to have been paid voluntarily and will not be refunded if within 6 months of payment the taxpayer doesn’t file a claim to get the taxes back. Therefore, in order to preserve the right to claim back the taxes that were paid under protest, a claim was filed. This claim is not being pursued at this time, because if the cottagers are successful in the arbitrations or in Federal Court, there will be no need to do so. This claim may never be needed and can be discontinued easily.

5) Judicial Review of the FNTC’s approval of the tax laws (Federal Court of Canada)
The Federal Court provides a process where a person who disagrees with the decision of a Federal decision maker (the FNTC in this case) can ask to have that decision reviewed by a judge, who can undo things that were done incorrectly or unfairly. In late July of 2012, the BPCOA initiated such a review, asking the Court to declare the decision of the FNTC to approve the BPFN tax laws invalid.
The main issues for the Court to consider are the repeated and well documented representations that the FNTC (and the BPFN) made to the BPCOA and the cottagers about how any new tax laws would apply to the cottagers, as well as the FNTC’s failure to adequately review and assess the BPFN’s laws prior to approving them.

The BPFN has employed procedural tactics to delay having this case heard. First, it challenged the ability of the BPCOA to represent the interests of the individual cottagers by bringing a motion to dismiss the case for lack of proper standing (this was Sept/Oct, 2012); second, it brought another motion asking to be permitted to file evidence related to actions that the BPFN had taken since the time when the Judicial Review was filed (this was March/April 2013). The BPFN was completely unsuccessful in both of these motions and costs were ordered against them, however they have still resulted in delay and additional cost. The BPCOA has just recently come into a position to have the Judicial Review set for a hearing, which we hope will take place at the end of the summer or in early fall.

Buffalo Point Cottage Owners Townhall meeting at Middlebro July 15, 2012

Buffalo Point Cottage Owners Townhall meeting at Middlebro July 15, 2012

Present:
Guests: Honorable Vic Toews, MP; Paul Edwards ,BPCOA legal counsel; Dan Gilson assistant Legal counsel
Board Members: Lee Delorme, President; Miles Briggs, Vice President; Gloria Jackson, Secretary; Veronica Johnson, Treasure; George Morley, Director; Jim Strandlie, Director; Randy Lasiuk, Director; Raj Raichura, Director.

Lee welcomes all members of the BPCOA. Lee explains all that has happened with the tax regime and how it has changed from what we were told by the FNTC and that we all have bills with a mill rate of 30.97 which are outrageous, so we have gone beyond what it cost to supply government services in Buffalo Point. We are not going to take this and that we have consulted legal advice and that we need to stay calm support our legal advisers and stay united and be patient. . These types of problems do not get solved over night, they take time but we must have the experts representing us as at this point we are beyond trying to mediate it on our own, with John.
Lee then introduces the Honorable Vic Toews.


Vic thanks everyone for the invitation;
- He understands the problem is not so much the issue of assessment but what is factored into the assessment and what is not factored into the assessment.
- If a first nation has the ability to put into place a property tax system, which he understands under the law that they do, how does that tax system simply replace existing taxpayers rights?
- The quality of the assessment is an issue as every lots needs to be assessed, whether it is vacant or whoever owns it.
- He agrees that there should be representation with taxation and has learn about the one bylaw on taxpayer representation had not been passed into law.
- A general rule is there cannot be any discrimination in terms of assessment when you are leasing from a particular individual.

Lee thanks Vic for coming and speaking.
Lee then talks to group about the package they received when they came in the door. Lee also says that we will talk about how much this process with cost us with legal fees and we will also talk about a petition that is being passed around here shortly that will go to the whole Thunder Family as we are very displeased as to how this is rolling out and we are just a concerned as to the legacy of Buffalo Point as is the Thunder Family.

Lee then introduces our legal counsel, Paul Edwards.

Paul :
- Explains the FNTC and how they allow the First Nations Tax.
- Points out the FNTC passed the laws except for the representation law.
- The amendments made to the passed laws were made without consultation with the BPCOA executive.
- The school levy as not supposed to be included yet it showed up without any consultation or notice.
- Enact the appeal process and the executive is asking for your go ahead to initiate the process
- Recommends doing the referral to arbitration under our lease agreements. Now is the time to challenge and to make sure that we are only charged on services that we receive and require.
- Recommend that we pay tax bills under protest
- Interested in costing us as little money as possible but getting the result we need.
- We are looking for to have some rules and fair rules so that we do not have to go through this every year. That is the goal.
- The FNTC, at the end of the day, is answerable to the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.

Lee:
- We need to vote on two things one is the arbitration law and the other is the appeal to the first nations.
- We want all cottager owners to sign the arbitrations forms and mail them in.
- Voted was taken and people approved going forth with the arbitration process.
- Voted was taken on the appeal process and it was approved to go forth with this process.
- Explained the petition that was handed out when cottager came in the door and that the clipboard was passed around for signatures for this petition and that it would go to John, Jim and Doris and all John’s siblings

Sam Crosby
- Recommended not sending the petition to Jim and Doris Thunder.

Lee
- Voted was taken as to whether to send to all the Thunder Family and it was overwhelming approved to send it to all the Thunder Family.

Miles
- Speaks about the assessment process and explains forms in packages
Reconsideration is the first and is free
Appeal process is the second and there is a $30 charge
- Recommends getting your field sheet from Bob Brown

Lee
- Mentions the petition to the Thunder Family, again
- Vote was taken as to collecting $100 for litigation or $200. It was voted to keep that at $100 and the executive would send out a mail out if more money is required.
Meeting is adjourned.

 

Minutes of AGM May 20, 2012

Buffalo Point Cottage Owner’s Association

Minutes from the Annual General Meeting of May 20, 2012

Buffalo Point Resort Conference Facility

1. Welcoming address:
Lee Delorme, President of the BPCOA, gave welcoming comments to the audience of 140+ cottage owners. Lee gave thanks to all volunteers who participated on the board of directors and all sub committees. He also gave a note of thanks to Joe Bain , President of North Country Websites, for voluntarily converting our association website to it’s original domain, buffalopoint.org, after we encountered some editing issues on the corporate website.
2. Approval of the agenda:
Several amendments were made to the agenda to incorporate some important announcements.
- Motion to accept the agenda as amended made by C. Bewcyk
- Motion seconded by D. Sparks
- Motion accepted by the membership.
3. Secretary’s Report:
Gloria Jackson, Secretary of the BPCOA, read the minutes from last year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
- Motion to accept the minutes as read made by A. Johnson
- Motion seconded by Karen Stang
- Motion accepted by the membership

Gloria also made several announcements regarding the upcoming Breast Cancer Tournament on and the BPCOA annual Picnic on June 30th.

4. Financial Report:
Veronica Johnson, Treasurer for the BPCOA, gave a financial update for the past year.
- Motion to accept the financial report was made
- Motion was seconded
- Motion accepted by the membership

5. Update on the proposed aboriginal property tax:
Lee made a presentation on the status of the proposed aboriginal property tax as follows.
A) Background information
- Discussions regarding property tax not new to Buffalo Point as it has been discussed in previous year’s budget negotiations
- Also discussed during negotiations which resulted in the drafting of the 2008 Rules/By-laws
- Decision by the BPCOA membership at the May 2010 AGM to return to the Schedule A budgeting process to arrive at the annual maintenance fee in accordance with the 2008 Rules/By-laws
- Subsequent budget negotiations between the BPCOA, BPFN and the BPDC resulted in the agreement to freeze the annual maintenance fee at $876.50 for the 2011/2012 and the 2012/2013 fiscal years. The BPDC honoured the first year of the freeze and indications are now that they may be endeavouring to renege on the second year of the freeze.
- Subsequent to the finalization of the two year freeze, the BPFN commenced discussions with the First Nations Tax Commission (FNTC) regarding the implementation of an aboriginal property tax for BP. The BPCOA was invited to participate in some of the exploratory meetings with the FNTC.
- A town hall meeting with residents of BP was hosted by the FNTC, the BPDC and the BPFN. It was held on June 10, 2011 and major highlights of an aboriginal property tax regime included the following: no school tax component, no discrimination clause, leaseholder rights protected and enhanced under a taxpayer representation law, annual increases in property tax bills limited to the Consumer Price Index and the property tax rates have to be comparable to the tax rates in the neighboring municipality, i.e. the Rural Municipality of Piney.
- Lee gave a pro forma exhibit of potential tax rates using the 2012/2013 mille rate of 13.12 from the RM of Piney. See exhibit of potential tax rates attached.

B) Proposals/Rebuttals
- October 26, 2011 Notice of proposed property tax and assessment tax received from the BPFN
- November 23, 2011 Notice of proposed taxpayer representation law received from the BPFN
- December 30, 2012 BPCOA written rebuttal to the proposed aboriginal property tax. Main arguments in opposition to proposed property tax: adherence to the agreement on the two year freeze on annual maintenance fees, the merits of the existing 2008 Rules/By-laws, early estimates are that our Schedule A budget are already comparable to the mille rate in the RM of Piney, and a request for a mediated session between the BPCOA, the BPFN and the BPDC to fully vet the pros and cons of an aboriginal property tax in comparison to the existing 2008 Rules/By-laws.
- January 27, 2012 BPCOA written rebuttal to the proposed taxpayer representation law. Main grievances centered around the undemocratic nature of the proposed taxpayer representation law, the shortcomings of the taxpayer dispute resolution provisions and a request to be comparable to the processes in existence at the RM of Piney.
- April 19, 2012 written responses received from the BPFN in essence rejecting all contents and recommendations contained in the rebuttals submitted by the BPCOA.
- May 18, 2012 lawyer for the BPCOA submitted rebuttals to all proposed laws to the FNTC. The FNTC to respond in the coming months.

C) 11th Hour Negotiations
Lee advised the group that some 11th hour negotiations are underway. The following information has been received:
- the BPDC needs more financial revenues to meet the current financial challenges.
- due to financial pressures, the BPDC is considering reneging on the two year freeze
- if a proposed property tax regime is approved by the FNTC, then the BPFN is considering expediting the normal process to have it applicable to the 2012/2013 fiscal year. In this process, they want to substantially exceed the mille rates as outlined by the RM of Piney. We currently contribute just under $300,000 in annual maintenance fees. The BPDC is looking to charge closer to $480,000 which includes a $100,000 capital reserve fund for upgrading the dump site and expanding the use of the sewer truck services by ending the use of grey water in all cottages.
- we were also advised that under their proposed property tax budget, no cottage owners would get a decrease from the current $876.50 and an abatement would be considered to offset huge increases on the newer and lake front cottages
- the preliminary appraisal/assessment figures for all cottages have been completed by the contract appraisers and anecdotal evidence indicates that the average appraised values of cottages are what we have originally estimated, i.e. in the $150,000 to $175,000 range. Therefore, when we apply the current mille rate from the RM of Piney, the proposed property tax system does not generate much in the way of additional revenues to the BPDC. It is essentially a zero sum gain.
In our discussions with Neil Duboff, the lawyer for the BPCOA, we were advised that cottage owners would have a very good chance of winning an appeal to the FNTC and/or in a court of law, if the BPDC endeavours to exceed the mille rate of the RM of Piney because this would be a direct violation of the FNTC’s published guidelines on mille rates for aboriginal property taxes.

D. Options for the BPCOA membership
Lee advised the membership that we basically have two options in the 11th hour negotiations. The first option is to endeavour to work with the BPDC and the BPFN to arrive at a resolution of the financial crisis all the while retaining and perhaps amending our 2008 Rules/by-laws in the process. The second option is to let the aboriginal property tax roll out and work within the FNTC guidelines to ensure tax rates comparable to the RM of Piney are respected and to ensure that the taxpayer representation law is equivalent to or better than our 2008 Rules/By-laws.
One option offered as a suggestion in the 11th hour negotiations was to have each cottage owner pay an additional $1500 over the next five years ($300 per year) under the condition that all cottage owner leases be rewritten to permanently exclude the aboriginal property tax provision. This option would generate an additional $100,000 per year for the BPDC and ensure that the annual maintenance fee be determined using existing Schedule A budgeting process. In this option, cottagers would pay their lawyer fees in rewriting their lease agreements as well.
A vote was taken by all those members in attendance using a “one vote per cottage” basis. The vote was split 50/50. Forty one cottage owners favoured paying the $1500 and permanently excluding the property tax provision from the existing leases and 41 cottage owners favoured the introduction of a property tax system where the FNTC provides government oversight over the BPFN and a system wherein the tax system parallels the system in place in the RM of Piney.
After further discussion, it was agreed that an offer of Option #1 would be made to the BPDC and, if the BPDC and the BPFN are interested in pursuing this option, then a mail out ballot to all cottage owners would be undertake to determine the level of support for finalizing such an agreement.
The membership was solicited for any other options or recommendations but none were received.

Exhibit #1 Potential property tax bills using the 2012/2013 mille rate of 13.12
Only 45% of the fair market value of residential properties in Manitoba is subject to property tax assessment. Therefore, the formula for calculating a property tax bill is as follows:
Fair market value of the residential property X 45% = the assessable amount divided by 1000 X 13.12 = the annual property tax bill. The following examples are offered for further clarification.
Cottages appraised at $100,000 would be subject to an annual tax of $590
Cottages appraised at $150,000 would be subject to an annual tax of $886
Cottages appraised at $200,000 would be subject to an annual tax of $1181
Cottages appraised at $300,000 would be subject to an annual tax of $1771
Cottages appraised at $400,000 would be subject to an annual tax of $2361
These tax rates are exclusive of the school tax component which does not apply to the proposed BPFN property tax regime for various reasons. Property tax regimes cannot be used to support private schools. The vast majority of the public education costs for residents of BP are currently paid for by Aboriginal Affairs and the provincial government. There are only about a dozen students resident in BP (K-12).

In closing, Lee advised the membership to watch the BPCOA website for announcements regarding the annual maintenance fee for the 2012/2013 fiscal year, any developments in our 11th hour negotiations and for any developments on the proposed property tax.

6. Election of directors for the BPCOA
Lee acknowledged the contributions made by the outgoing directors Ed Rampl and Bruce Smyth. Miles Briggs and Raj Raichura we nominated and elected by acclamation.
7. Membership fees and the litigation fund.
A motion was made by Marion Kwiatkowski to increase the annual membership fee from $10 to $15 as a result of increases costs for postage, etc. There was unanimous agreement.
Another motion was made by Lee to potentially assess cottage owners an additional $100 at a later date in the event that we are forced into litigation regarding the proposed aboriginal property tax and/or the honouring of the two year freeze. There was unanimous agreement.
8. Old business
Ed Rampl gave an update on the 911 Service. Meetings were held with a representative of the MTS to extend 911 Service to Buffalo Point. Essentially what remains is that the BPDC/BPFN have to sign an agreement with the MTS and have numerical property signs made up. Follow up enquiries indicate that very little progress has been made by the administration office since Wyman Sangster resigned last fall. From a BPCOA perspective our obligations have been fulfilled in this regard.
9. New business
a) Volunteers are required to organize the annual BPCOA golf tournament. No volunteers came forward at the meeting.
b) One cottage owner expressed dissatisfaction with the quality or thoroughness of investigations regarding some break-ins that occurred over the winter. Follow up enquiries will be made with the RCMP detachment in this regard.
c) Cell phone service is substandard in the BP area and complaints should be elevated to the MTS in this regard. Although our community numbers are not that significant, reliable cell phone service should be a health and safety issue.
d) Wiband internet service is substandard. Some complaints were made regarding the poor service and reception of internet service. Ed Rampl advised the group that Wiband is experimenting with different technology that is supposedly capable of transmitting through trees/leaves and thereby eliminating the necessity of towers being erected on or beside cottages.
e) Miles updated the group on the open house that was hosted by the RM of Piney. Miles, Lee, Ed Rampl and Wayne Jackson attended the open house and obtained copies of the Waste Management Study. The RM commissioned the study to help prepare them for future capital projects and potentially help them when any provincial grants may be available. Transfer stations seem to be the most economical option wherein waste is trucked to a processing plant in Steinbach. Discussions will undoubtedly be held with the BPDC in this regard in the future.

Motion to adjourn the meeting was made and passed by the membership.

Minutes of AGM May 22, 2011

Meeting was opened by Vice President Ed Rampl.

1. Opening remarks – Thank you to all who volunteered their time this past year.

2. Approval of agenda – motion to accept by Kay Blais, seconded by Claude Lemay.

3. Minutes of the May 23, 2010 annual meeting were read out by Carol Bewcyk – motion to accept made by Carol Bewcyk,
seconded by Gail Keast.

4. Financial report read out by Gloria Jackson – motion to accept made by Gloria Jackson, seconded by Doug Struthers.

5. Budget and Schedule A was explained by Ed Rampl.

6. Proposed Aboriginal Property Tax – informational meeting will be held June 10, 2011 at the conference centre.
BPCOA requires legal advice regarding this proposed change. Motion made by Don Plett, seconded by Karen Stang
to transfer $5,000.00 from general revenue to the arbitration fund to assist in legal expenses. Motion passed by floor.

7. BPCOA Events
Photo Contest – postponed until picnic.
Fishing Derby – George Bouchard reported there were 210 participants. Everyone had a great time, prizes for everyone
and $554.50 was donated to BPCOA.
Golf Tournament – Blaine Peterson reported a very successful tournament and $300.00 was donated to BPCOA.

8. Election of Board Members
East Shore – Veronica Johnson and Randy Lasuik were elected for a 2 year term.
South Shore – George Morley and Jim Strandlie were elected for a 2 year term.

9. A representative of the Sprague RCMP detachment gave a presentation on boating safety and the rules pertaining to the use
of golf carts and ATVs on the roads.

10. Buffalo Point Corporation – Wyman Sangster gave an overview of the corporations plans and budget.

11. Old Business
South Shore erosion – The corporation will be meet with the affected cottagers to determine what action will be taken.
An additional road access from Highway #12 is being worked on by the corporation.

12. New Business
Buffalo Point Corporation would like volunteers to help with the museum.

Meeting was adjourned by Ed Rampl and seconded by Jim Strandlie.

Buffalo Point Cottage Owner’s Association