Farm property values soar in SD&G

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By Nick Seebruch
Farm property values soar in SD&G
OFA Senior Policy Analyst Ben Le Fort presents to United Counties Council on Monday, October 21, 2019 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – At the monthly meeting of the Council of the United Counties of SD&G, councillors heard that the average value of farm property in the region had jumped by 91 per cent.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) explained in a presentation to Council that this jump in property value assessment also meant that local farmers were facing a higher tax burden this year.

“The problem is not just that farm property values have increased by 91 per cent. The problem is that farm property values have increased by 91 per cent while other properties have remained relatively flat,” said Ben Le Fort, Senior Policy Analyst with the OFA.

The value of the average residential property in SD&G has only gone up by 11 per cent in the past four years.

Property values are assessed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and municipalities must set their tax rates based on those values.

The OFA asked for a lower tax rate from the United Counties for the 2020 year to give them a year to catch up.

South Stormont Mayor and United Counties Councillor Bryan MacGillis pointed out that reducing the ratio on farmers would mean that slack would have to be picked up by another part of the tax base, primarily residences.

South Dundas Mayor and United Counties Councillor Steven Byvelds said that the tax rate could be adjusted if the Counties can make due with less.

“Other classes pay, only before we set the budget. If we did it before, we only take dollars out of our account. We have less money to spend, but other classes aren’t impacted,” he said.

The presentation was received by council and referred for information purposes at budget time.

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