by Rejean Pommainville, regional director
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
PRESCOTT – Every four years the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) releases property assessment updates for all properties in Ontario. We are currently in the second year of a four-year assessment cycle, in which the taxable assessment of farmland has increased by over 84 per cent in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. This is in addition to very significant increases in the 2012 reassessment.
As a result, the tax burden of farmers in the United Counties has increased every year since 2013. Unless the council of the United Counties adjusts its tax ratio policy to reduce the farm tax ratio in 2019, the already burdensome tax load on local farmers will continue to increase until at least 2021.
As an upper-tier municipality, the United Counties have been given legislative authority by the provincial government to adjust the farm tax ratio anywhere between 0-0.25 in any given tax year. If the United Counties do not adjust the farm tax ratio in 2019, local farmers will be faced with upwards of $1-million in additional tax burden.
Given these substantial increases in property tax burden that local farmers are facing, the Prescott-Russel Federations of Agriculture urge the council of the United Counties to implement a farm tax ratio of 0.225 for the 2019 tax year. Reducing the ratio will not result in farmers paying less tax then they did the year before. This would result in slowing the increase in farm tax to a more manageable and equitable level.