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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Discontent Over Farm Tax Change In Hanover

Hanover | by Robyn Garvey  

While the news is good for farmers, it is not being as well received by urban residents.

Photo by Glen Lindsey 

A recent decision by Grey County Council is not sitting well with Hanover.

While the news is good for farmers, it is not being as well received by urban residents.

Mayor Sue Paterson is concerned about the Grey County decision to decrease the Farm Tax ratio from 0.25 to 0.24 per cent.

She says when one class is decreased, it means another class will have to pick it up.

Paterson says the 0.1 percent decrease on the farm tax ratio equates to a decrease of 90 thousand dollars.

She says this 90 thousand dollar decrease in the farm tax ratio will be applied to all of the other tax classes to make up the loss. (other classes include commercial, industrial, institutional etc..)

Of the 90 thousand dollars, 76 thousand will be applied to the residential tax rate.

Paterson says this means the urban residents of Grey County will be shouldering the brunt of this, such as Owen Sound and Hanover residents.

Not surprisingly, the Grey County 11-4 decision on the farm tax ratio decrease, was opposed by Owen Sound’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Georgian Bluff’s Deputy Mayor and Hanover’s Mayor.

Many farmers however see the farm tax ratio decrease much differently.

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Director Pat Jileson calls it a fairness issue.

He says while the ratio change is a small one, it will help correct the disproportionate amount of property taxes that farmers are paying for, compared to the services they use.

OFA director Hugh Simpson agrees noting that over the last few years MPAC farm assessments locally have dramatically increased.

Simpson says given the extraordinary market value appreciation, the 0.1 percent farm ratio tax decrease from the County was an economical and political symbolic gesture recognizing the impact these skyrocketing assessments are having on farmers.

A consultant’s report to the County noted that between 2012 and 2016, MPAC assessment on many farms in the area went up by 70 percent.

While residential values went up only 5 percent.


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