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Community leaders call for abolishment of local service districts


Cape St. George Mayor Peter Fenwick believes it’s time the province’s local service districts were abolished and organized into municipalities.

Fenwick made the comment in reaction to difficulties collecting garbage fees in the Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove Local Service District.

“I extend my sympathy to Ray Skinner for the courageous work he has done to get the affairs of his community in order,” Fenwick said of Skinner, the chair of Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove, who announced earlier this week he’s stepping down from the unpaid job.

“It is hard to do even when you have the resources of an incorporated town to call on,” Fenwick added.

He said the job can sometimes be overwhelming for chairs of local service districts, and someday the province must come to grips with the problems of these districts and unincorporated areas.

Fenwick says getting rid of local service districts ought to come soon, because the waste fees of $130 per year that can't be collected will rise greatly — perhaps to $200 a year, he said — when garbage has to be shipped to central Newfoundland.

The local service districts’ problem is especially prevalent in the southwest coast area, Fenwick said, with a number of them located on the Port au Port Peninsula, Bay St. George South and in the Codroy Valley area.

Fenwick said local service districts have no power to collect taxes and fees from residents. He said if a property owner is not paying taxes in an incorporated municipality, the town has the right to confiscate that property, which encourages people to pay.

“The provincial government should force local service districts to form into towns, but unfortunately the political will is not there to get this done and solve the problem,” he said.

Skinner, who is giving up his position as chairperson of Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove, agrees that these unincorporated communities should form into municipalities.

He said there are some who fear paying a poll tax on top of garbage and water fees, but Skinner sees the advantages of the tax being used for fire service and saving money on home insurance.

When more property owners are paying into a pot, the less each has to pay, he said.

“It’s time to move up to a municipality,” Skinner said. “Bigger is better.”

Twitter: WS_FrankGale

Fenwick made the comment in reaction to difficulties collecting garbage fees in the Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove Local Service District.

“I extend my sympathy to Ray Skinner for the courageous work he has done to get the affairs of his community in order,” Fenwick said of Skinner, the chair of Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove, who announced earlier this week he’s stepping down from the unpaid job.

“It is hard to do even when you have the resources of an incorporated town to call on,” Fenwick added.

He said the job can sometimes be overwhelming for chairs of local service districts, and someday the province must come to grips with the problems of these districts and unincorporated areas.

Fenwick says getting rid of local service districts ought to come soon, because the waste fees of $130 per year that can't be collected will rise greatly — perhaps to $200 a year, he said — when garbage has to be shipped to central Newfoundland.

The local service districts’ problem is especially prevalent in the southwest coast area, Fenwick said, with a number of them located on the Port au Port Peninsula, Bay St. George South and in the Codroy Valley area.

Fenwick said local service districts have no power to collect taxes and fees from residents. He said if a property owner is not paying taxes in an incorporated municipality, the town has the right to confiscate that property, which encourages people to pay.

“The provincial government should force local service districts to form into towns, but unfortunately the political will is not there to get this done and solve the problem,” he said.

Skinner, who is giving up his position as chairperson of Piccadilly Slant-Abraham’s Cove, agrees that these unincorporated communities should form into municipalities.

He said there are some who fear paying a poll tax on top of garbage and water fees, but Skinner sees the advantages of the tax being used for fire service and saving money on home insurance.

When more property owners are paying into a pot, the less each has to pay, he said.

“It’s time to move up to a municipality,” Skinner said. “Bigger is better.”

Twitter: WS_FrankGale

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