Gillies Township, Ont. — Gillies Township’s municipal office is to remain locked during regular business hours due to safety concerns, Reeve Wendy Wright has confirmed.
In an interview on Saturday, Wright said that it has recently been brought to council’s attention that the township had received threats.
“This is a health and safety issue,” Wright said.
Wright would not elaborate on the nature of the threats, but said provincial police have been notified.
The township has been under fire of late for passing a budget that included an unprecedented overall tax increase of nearly 26 per cent.
Some residents have complained that their property taxes are to rise by several hundred dollars.
In August, a public meeting about the proposed budget — with Wright and other council members in attendance — became heated. OPP officers also attended the meeting at council’s invitation. No arrests were made.
Taxpayers can still access the Highway 595 municipal office in person by making an appointment, or by ringing a doorbell.
“Cash payments for tax bills can be made at the municipal office by ringing the doorbell where a staff member will greet you, process your payment, and issue a receipt,” says a notice on the municipality’s website.
The notice doesn’t say why the office is closed.
Though some taxpayers have objected to the office being closed, Wright said she doesn’t think “it’s a big deal.”
She noted that some private businesses require customers to ring a bell before entering.
Municipal offices at the other five rural Thunder Bay municipalities remain open to walk-in traffic during regular business hours.
Wright said she did not immediately respond last week to an email inquiry about the Gillies office closure from The Chronicle-Journal because she said she did not receive it.
By CARL CLUTCHEY, LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER
Original Published on Oct 17, 2023 at 10:20