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Accommodation tax committee approved over councillor’s objections

An attempt at Tuesday’s council meeting by Councillor Joe Campbell to delay setting up an advisory committee on how to spend the city’s portion of the accommodations tax failed.

Councillor Cory Robin presented terms of reference he drew up with Councillors Rock Whissell and Michelle Boileau.

Campbell said a committee isn’t needed, that council could do the job.  Boileau objected to that.

“I believe this committee is needed,” she insisted.

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It was mentioned several times that its recommendations need council approval.

Boileau also answered concerns about the terms of reference.

“It should be understood that the terms of reference will be amended as needed moving  forward,” she said.

Half of the four-percent tax on hotel room rentals goes to tourism initiatives. The other half can be spent the way council sees fit.  The plan drawn up by the three councillors will see it used for services and activities now paid out of the general levy.

Campbell objected to the way it came together, saying the committee isn’t needed and that council can determine the expenditures itself. Mayor George Pirie disagreed.

“If every single issue came in to the council as a whole,” the mayor remarked, “we would never get through this. Without a doubt, we need a working committee.”

Councillor Kristin Murray also objected to the plan, but less insistently than Campbell did.

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