Buffalo Point Cottage Owners Townhall meeting at Middlebro July 15, 2012
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Recommended not sending the petition to Jim and Doris Thunder.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.