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Letter: Concerned with comments by Innisfail CAO, mayor

Insight on how prospective businesses would be treated with arbitrary special taxes, absurd landscaping requirements

Re: Town of Innisfail's special tax process forces apology

After reading the article I felt that I should address some of the comments made by the town chief administrator and mayor Jim Romane.

The fact that the town’s chief administrator Todd Becker is trying to cast this as a technical bylaw mistake is alarming.

They state that a staff report conducted in the spring provided “ advanced communication” to the property owners with one exception. I disagree.

I personally circulated  the letter that nine of the property owners signed. Of the nine signatures only one property owner had been consulted, the other eight including myself were not consulted, had no idea of the cost or timing of implementation. Most of us learned of its implementation when we received our tax notices. 

The comments made by mayor Romane are contradictory to the statement of “advanced communication” when he states they were looking for some kind of cost recovery but not much was said.

One of our major concerns with this special tax is the fact that most of the affected landowners have been here for extended periods of time, some over 25 years.

We never complained when we were assessed the same tax rate as other landowners, despite having a horrible gravel road and no street lights. Yet when we finally receive one of the amenities we paid for all along, you want to implement a 15-year special tax. 

Mayor Romane and council, some of the landowners affected by this are some of largest employers in this community. We have all struggled during the downturn for the last four or five years, and then through 18 months of pandemic. You implement this special tax, and at the same time council reports a balanced budget and huge cash reserves, but you’re not gouging? 

Your comments will have provided some insight for prospective businesses thinking of locating to Innisfail on just how they would be treated with arbitrary special taxes and absurd landscaping requirements.

Mayor Romane’s statement that we need to “step up to the plate and pick up their tab” is obnoxious, and truly reflects the toxic relationship this town administration and council have with the Industrial park businesses. 

- Ron Bristow, Innisfail