DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog has reached a municipal service agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).
The agreement, approved at a meeting on Monday, Nov. 6th, will see OLG pay the Township an annual fixed fee of $874,620, starting in 2018.
According to a report from CAO Paul Allore, the fee “will be indexed annually, by the greater of 1.5 per cent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the immediate prior year.”
However, the annual fee is less than the approximately $1.1 million the Township was receiving annually, over the past five years under a previous revenue sharing agreement.
As a result, council agreed to request Premier Kathleen Wynne and minister Charles Sousa to “commit the Province to provide funding of $242,602, to compensate the Township for the loss in revenue.”
Ward 2 Councillor, Janna Guido asked Mayor Tom Rowett what MPP Granville Anderson’s opinion was regarding, if the township could successfully receive these funds from the province.
“Right from the beginning, it’s been a concern about the service agreement approach with OLG that it wouldn’t make us whole or come close. Right from the early stages, a great deal of concern was expressed to our MPP and the province, and they wanted us to get this done first, and then look into the gap filling,” Mayor Rowett responded.
The Mayor added, the Township would “like to tidy this up as soon as possible” because of the upcoming provincial election in 2018.
Under the terms of the municipal service agreement, the Township and OLG will meet once every two years.
“If the Township and OLG agree that a material change has occurred, then the parties will negotiate, in good faith, a new fee or fee structure,” Mr. Allore’s report read.
The Township, in exchange, will provide road maintenance services, as well as fire and emergency response services to OLG.
“OLG is pleased the Township of Scugog has approved a fee for service agreement with OLG, to pay for services such as road maintenance, fire services and emergency response services,” OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti said, in an email to The Standard.
“The road maintenance services are for all Township roads adjacent to the Great Blue Heron Casino. These services include plowing, salting, patching of potholes and the installation and maintenance of sidewalks as required. The fire and emergency services include fire suppression, fire prevention, education and training of casino staff.”
The agreement runs from January 1st, 2018 until March 31st, 2027. After that, OLG can extend the agreement for additional five-year terms.
OLG officially took over management of the Great Blue Heron Casino, on Scugog Island, in September of 2016.
The Township is also working on negotiating a municipal service agreement with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN).
“Those discussions are moving a little slower than they were with the OLG group. We are hoping, and the Mayor and I have been pressing, to have this wrapped up by year end,” Mr. Allore said.
However, he added that it could take into the new year to finalize an agreement with MSIFN.
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