City of Greater Sudbury to invite Queen's Park to discuss fairer share of mining revenues



    SUDBURY, ON, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - The City of Greater Sudbury will be inviting
Queen's Park to explore ways of providing the municipality with a more
equitable share of the tens of millions of tax dollars local mining companies
pour into provincial government coffers each year.
    The initiative follows a decision by City Council on Wednesday to approve
the principal recommendation of an Advisory Panel on Municipal Mining
Revenues, set up by Council in March 2006.
    In its 64-page report, the 10-member panel, chaired by former Inco
vice-president José Blanco, called on Council to, "invite the Province of
Ontario to enter into negotiations with the city to establish a resource
revenue-sharing framework that will ensure a predictable and sustainable
revenue stream for the municipality."
    The panel notes that in 1970, major mining companies accounted for about
a quarter of local property taxes. By 2005, the mining companies' share of
municipal property tax levies had fallen to just 6.5 per cent.
    "This is a very complex, multi-layered story in which there are no bad
guys," said panel chair José Blanco. "The panel members believe it is critical
that we learn from the past but look to the future. Our report refines the
argument as to why Greater Sudbury should receive compensation for the pivotal
role our municipality plays in supporting mining and processing activities in
this, the premier urban mining centre in the world."
    The report goes on to say that between 2001 and 2005, municipal property
tax revenues from the city's mining operations declined by 4.5 per cent - a
loss of some $20 million over the five years. During that same period,
provincial tax revenues from the mining industry grew by 110 per cent. For the
federal government, the increase was 78 per cent.
    The report outlines a clear and consistent tradition of provincial
financial support for the unique needs and valuable contributions of mining
communities, dating back almost a century. As a result of the provincial
government's implementation of the Local Services Realignment in 1998,
however, the city lost some $7 million in provincial grants. In the 10 years
following realignment, the accumulated loss in revenue amounts to some
$80 million, says the report.
    "The City of Greater Sudbury provides much of the valuable infrastructure
that give our mining companies their competitive edge," said Greater Sudbury
Mayor John Rodriguez. "Roadways are an obvious example. But beyond this, we've
built a city where talented people want to come to live, work and play. For
our city and the companies that are located here to remain competitive, we
need to keep investing in our municipal infrastructure. I commend the panel
for making such a compelling case for why the province will want to partner
with us in securing this city's future."
    The report notes there are precedents for such revenue-sharing
arrangements. Examples include a 1998 memorandum of understanding between the
Province of British Columbia and the Peace River Regional District and an
Impacts and Benefits Agreement between the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company - a
wholly owned subsidiary of Vale Inco - and the Innu of Labrador.
    Members of the panel include: José Blanco (chair), former Vice President
of Inco Ltd., City Councillor Joe Cimino (Vice Chair), Floyd Laughren, former
Ontario Minister of Finance, Denis Hubert, Collège Boréal President, Sylvia
Barnard, Cambrian College President, Cathy Modesto, Surintendente d'affaires
et des finances du Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario, Ron
Mulholland, Laurentian University Associate Professor (Faculty of Management),
Ryan Minor, Chartered Accountant, Leo Gerard, International President of the
United Steelworkers of America and André Dumais, Bestech Marketing Manager.
    The report is available at the City's website at
www.greatersudbury.ca/miningrevenues.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Mayor's Office, City of Greater
Sudbury, (705) 674-4455, ext. 2514; Ghislain Lamothe, Manager of Corporate
Communications and French-language Services, City of Greater Sudbury, (705)
674-4455, ext. 4507

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