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Council at standstill over how to help farmers without shifting tax burden

Prince Edward County councillors have just over two weeks to mull over how to support agriculture and farmers without adding hardship on residential taxpayers.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, several farmers joined John Thompson, president of the Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture in telling councillors how a 25 per cent increase in taxes would make a tough way to make a living even more difficult.

Elizabeth Johnston spoke to represent the young farmers in the County who are competing with large operations, land investors and city residents buying up land.

“This dramatic rise in property tax is crippling for our young farmers. In order to ensure small farms continue to exist in Prince Edward County we need to soften this blow and ensure they are in a financial position to be able to invest in land and keep it in agriculture.”

Johnston noted she is almost 35-years-old and at one time, her age would signal time for dismissal from the Young Farmers club. But recently, she said, the age limit has moved up to 40.

“I can bet you that by the time I’m 40, that number will be shifted to 45. It’s great for my ego. I get to be a ‘young farmer’ for quite a long time, but it makes you wonder why that number is going up. It’s simple. There’s no one coming up behind me. That should be really scary for our community.”

The deputations were a follow up to others, most recently in November, when council was asked to reduce the farm tax ratio from the current 25 per cent of the residential rate, to 20 per cent for 2018 and beyond.

Asking staff for a report, the recommendation came back to maintain the ratio at 25 per cent.

“Lowering the farm tax ratio would shift additional property tax buren to other classes, primarily the residential tax class,” staff’s report stated. “Reducing the farm tax ratio is not a fair and equitable policy decision for all ratepayers in the County of Prince Edward.”

Following extensive discussion, the staff recommendation was defeated, along with several amended motions.

Councillor Treat Hull stated council’s track record of delivery of promises to help farmers has not produced.

“This is our last term and repeatedly through the life of this council, we’ve said how important agriculture was to the community and how much we wanted to support agriculture. But to be honest, when I look back, in terms of our track record of delivering, I’m scratching my head to find anything really substantial.”

Councillor Gord Fox noted two deputations from two local young farmers “were game changers. You are the future and we have to look after our future.”

Mayor Robert Quaiff, reflecting on back-to-back years of weather devasting crop production (drought, followed by flooding) called the situation a connundrum.

“We’ve talked the talk since 2000 and maybe this is our opportunity to walk the walk… It’s council’s decision.”

He also reflected that the tax shift could burden other property tax classes, noting 90 per cent of County’s tax base is residential and 63 per cent of that is seniors.

“We’re the second largest senior community in Ontario and the fifth largest in Canada,” he stated. “But I am open to listen to amendments or alternatives as to where we can get the funds from.”

CAO James Hepburn made clear changes can be made for the tax shift this year, and “recommendations can be made for following years, but you can’t bind the future council to that. They will have the option of setting the tax ratio each year as required by the municipal act. You can’t let the farming community leave here thinking it’s a three-year deal.”

Options suggested but defeated included a 20 per cent increase this year; a 24 per cent increase for this year with recommendations for 22 per cent next, followed by 20 per cent and back to 25 per cent; a recommendation for 22 per cent this year.

Council decided to simply receive the report and will revisit the issue at the Feb. 13 meeting of council.

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  1. Gary says:

    I think they gave the Ostrander Point group $20,000 to assist the legal fight. It was a good decision as Council did not support Wind monsters. That has nothing to do with taxation however.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    hockeyman – are you sure? If so, how much and under what

  3. hockeynan says:

    Coucil gave the anti turbine group money.Why not the farmers j

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    Asking one set of taxpayers to pay the taxes due to increased land value of another set of taxpayers is ridiculous! What a slippery slope this begins. It is fair to ask – if Council supports the farmers this time – then how do they say no to some other group of taxpayers who also want a tax break? Council cannot set the precedent – it will come back to haunt all of us! But most importantly – this request by the OFA is asking many taxpayers on less income to pay for the land rich farmers. Bottom line – this is wrong!

    Attend the Special Meeting on Feb. 22nd – 7 p.m. at the Picton Community Centre – just tell Council – NO WAY!!

  5. Emily says:

    You go for it ADJ. Just count me out thank you.

  6. ADJ says:

    I’m not a farmer but can sympathize with some concerning this huge increase. I hope I’m understanding this all correctly… Through no fault of their own ( a Prov. glitch!)farmers that only farm a small acreage are being herded in with your wealthier,big acreage retired farmer. (who can well afford to pay these rates BTW)..Perhaps John Thompson and the OFA need to start here and organize their house. Withhold tax payments as a protest AGAINST MPAC and the Province. In the meantime,
    if Torri’s number is correct and I believe it is as it was also stated at the Council meeting,your tax bill would see an increase of $12….my god I spent more than that on lunch yesterday! Nobody wants to see these farmers disappear from the County. The alternative would see imported product even more so than now.I will gladly pay this miniscule tax increase if it means saving what few farmers we have left and encouraging newer farmers to establish once this fiasco is ironed out.I know I’m not alone. Take the fight to the Provincial government and MPAC!

  7. Gary says:

    I agree. What if Residential help pay farmers taxes, then the farmer sells for huge profits and we just got taken. There is no assistance for outrageous residential increases or the insane urban water crisis. As long as that is the mindset then farmers can pay their own d..n taxes and stop coming back cup in hand every year.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Dear Torri – you fail to realize that the farmers are asking for someone else to pay for their share of taxes – when in fact residential taxpayers have been hit with increases several times over the past 10 years or so – without any help from anywhere!

    The farmers plight is not one of hardship and poverty – rather it is one brought on by the amount of their increased WEALTH – through increased property assessment. Sorry, I don’t buy their excuses of wanting other taxpayers to experience even greater tax increases so they can be spared.

  9. Chuck says:

    Council already received public opinion the last go around and now two staff reports recommending no change to the farm tax structure. I do not know why they are entertaining this again after a decision was made. But then again it is an election year both provincially and municipally. I personally think the mayor should step aside sooner than May given the potential conflicts and the fact that you cannot serve 2 masters one being the constituents of Prince Edward and the other the Ontario Liberal Party.

  10. hockeynan says:

    Emily,Thank God they can as they have a staggering amount of expenses.

  11. Dennis Fox says:


    In the Feb 1st issue of the Gazette (Pg10) there is an article advertising a special council meeting on February 22nd – 7 p.m. at the Prince Edward Community Centre – to get public input re: farm tax credit.

    Frankly, on a personal level, I’m tired of this issue always coming back for one more kick at the can- I thought Council made their decision. I will definitely try to attend this meeting to make my thoughts known – I hope you do too!

  12. Emily says:

    Farmer’s can claim a staggering amount of deductions.

  13. Chuck says:

    What is the level of property tax rebates farmers receive?

  14. Torri says:

    Dennis, You fail to recognize that yourself and farmland owners are both trying to achieve the same goal of a fairer taxation system. You attempted to affect things from the top by appealing to the provincial level and MPAC directly. Unfortunately, 13 years later, nothing has changed. The OFA has been working on this for years as well. Local farmers are simply going from the bottom up by starting with the County level to attempt to appeal for a fairer system. They have every right to appeal to Council, as you did and their goal is the same.

    You continually bring up waterfront properties as your example. This is not a tax class therefore cannot be given a separate mil rate from other residential properties. Simple as that. I have had waterfront for the past 25 years in PEC. In no given year did my taxes double. They were $1700 dollars in 2003 and are about $3600 now. That took 15 years to double. Farmers are looking at this rate of increase in just 3 years.

    Let’s take a look at how your taxes are actually determined. The County develops a budget by looking at its current needs. They then determine how much money comes from “other” tax classes and revenue sources, then they make up the remainder by taxing the residential class. The residential mil rate is changed annually based on County needs and MPAC assessments. If the MPAC assessments go up, then the residential mil rate is adjusted to respond to this. If MPAC assessment went up 50%, the County doesn’t need to collect 50% percent more taxes from everyone. That would be millions of dollars. So they lower the mil rate to collect only what was set out in the budget. Also, because there are so many contributing to this tax class, the County only needs to increase the taxes slightly for the individual to raise large sums. Because of this relationship, You will NEVER or have ever seen a County-wide doubling of individual residential property taxes. It is almost impossible.

    When the provincial government laid out the MPAC assessment system, they knew dramatically increased MPAC assessments may cause taxation difficulties. That’s why they gave municipalities the power to adjust mil rates for BOTH residential AND farmland classes. The County uses this power annually with the residential mil rate, but has unfortunately forgotten about applying it fairly to farmland as well. The ability to adjust the farmland mil rate was designed to help in case of this exact situation. A situation where farmers are facing hardship over the doubling of their taxes in such a short period.

    The most unfortunate situation here is how this whole thing has been presented by the Corporation. This dramatic change in farmland assessment should have been taking into account when looking at the budget. They just assumed they would be taxing the farmland at the top of the mil rate as always and then set the budget and residential tax rate based on that value. They failed to notice(or didn’t care) that they had shifted a larger portion of the tax burden on to farmers. A much smaller population group was now expected to take on a much bigger burden. An increase of $5500 for a small(both working off farm) farm and $10,000 for a medium farm (one working off farm). These are not small numbers and are difficult for any low-margin small business to absorb.

    Eight other municipalities in Eastern Ontario recognized this shift in tax burden and adjusted their farmland mil rate so that this unfair shift in tax burden would not occur.
    The PEC Corp instead has decided to address their short-sightedness by pitting residential vs. farmland owners against eachother. It continues to use words like “tax-shift” and “tax break” so that we won’t recognize that this issue should have been addressed BEFORE the mil rates were set for the year. Yes, the residential rate will need to rise ever so slightly ($12 per property), but it is to correct a mistake that should not have been made in the first place. That is in no way a tax break.
    It is only fair that the tax burden(the portion or percentage of the budget ) for farmland remains the same as in the past. Farmers are not requiring more services or anything else that would justify shifting this burden onto farmers alone. Please don’t confuse “tax burden” for “individual taxes paid”. The taxes each farmer pays will still go up dramatically with the new MPAC Assessments.

    Farmers are simply asking that instead of their taxes going up 110%, that they only go up 68% instead. Still an incredible increase, but an acceptable compromise for all parties I believe. They are also not asking for this to be permanent. They just want the farmland mil rate to be approached in the same manner as the residential mil rate. A fair and equitable system.

    And if someone responds to this bringing up waterfront taxes, millionaire farmers, or capital gains … I swear to God.. Haha! 

  15. Mark says:

    Dennis, I agree with you totally. My intent was not to blame the new arrivals and sorry if that is how it came across. New comers and tourists have pushed housing prices. This has helped some and Shire Hall. It has hurt low income and young people wanting home ownership. But back to the topic I want no part of paying someone else’s taxes.

  16. Dennis Fox says:

    Mark – I don’t disagree with you at all, however, let’s be fair – people have been attracted to this community because our municipality and businesses have promoted it as the place to come and stay. And every election most of the same people get voted back in. The original land owners sold and have profited from this, so have local trades people, businesses and Shire Hall. I don’t think we can blame the new arrivals(being one myself) as the reason for high taxes. I’ve been here 15 years and every year this community has faced tax increases that I would guess at averaging between 3 – 5% yearly. That is HUGE and I think we all (new and old) have got to start wondering – have politicians never heard of a zero based budget or basic restraint? This request by the local OFA is nothing but old style “good old boys” pressure tactics wanting town council to give them an unwarranted tax break, by having the rest of us pick up the tab. NO thank you!

  17. Emily says:

    I guess no one wants to say it but some of the farmers at the Council meeting are very well off and more than able to pay their fair share of taxes more so than a lot of residential folks. They need to stop looking for someone else to pay their taxes all the while their capital wealth increases and substantially protected from capital gains.

  18. Mark says:

    Dennis, urban properties with the influx of Toronto retirees paying significant prices for properties have increased the property assessments dramatically as well, as the assessment is based upon market value of neighbouring properties. Thus the property value has increased. The same can be said for farmland that has significantly increased in value.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    Some writers claim that they don’t recall residential taxes taking huge increase. This is exactly the point that I am trying to make – if you didn’t notice it back abut 10 years ago, it is because you weren’t affected and didn’t pay any attention to those who were. AND no help was offered to those taxpayers – far more in number than now. Back then, those most affected were waterfront properties and those with a view of waterfront – for many the taxes almost doubled – some even more. The idea that is being discussed now is totally ridiculous. Council has made the right decision, if they reverse it now, then their credibility will be greatly damaged, leaving this community seriously divided.

    Rather than transferring taxes from one group to another, maybe we should be trying to get the municipality and province to investigate a better system of taxation??

  20. Fred says:

    I do not believe other municipalities are entertaining shifting a portion of farm taxes onto residential. In fact if I recall correctly when this matter was raised last year with Prince Edward Council,the eastern municipalities were not supportive of that type of change in tax burden.

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    Torri -You have once again not read what I had written – what I took part in had a whole different direction than what the farmers are doing. The group I was associated with (years ago) never tried to get another group of taxpayers to pay for their taxes, like what the farmers are asking for now. A HUGE DIFFERENCE in approach.

  22. Torri says:

    Whoa whoa whoa. Dennis did you just state that you, personally, were involved in protest groups and deputations to council requesting assistance regarding a huge increase in property taxes???!!! Didn’t you just try to shame the local OFA because you think they are doing the same thing??

    Which actually they are not. The county is asking farmers to pay more than their share of the budget. The residential contributions are actually going to amount to a smaller portion of the budget than last year. How is that fair and equitable?

    My memory might be off too but
    I can’t recall my residential taxes doubling in 2005. My bills also disagree with you.
    It is true residential assessments have increased as well, but at no point have TAXES doubled. There’s checks and balances within the system (such as mil rates and large number of payers) that prevent a county wide tax doubling to occur. Farmers just want this applied to farmland as well.

    Where have the farmers been? Right there with you because they have homes in the county too and pay increased residential taxes as well. It’s not us versus them. Its what’s fair for all. Residential taxes rates change based on assessments, farmland rates should too. Period. Please state why you don’t agree with this, Dennis? Gary?

  23. Mark says:

    Keep in mind as well that farmers receive a tax rebate that residential does not. A farming business also evades capital gains on the very profitable land sales. A residential sitting on 20 acres gets capital gains exemption on the house and an acre or two. The rest of the sale is a capital gains hit.

  24. Dennis Fox says:

    Torri – Sorry, our memory is short. Residential taxes took a big hit on several occasions -starting back at around 2005 when taxes jumped by the 100% + mark and then on one or two more occasions later. I was part of the original protesting groups that made deputations to council at that time. Your idea that the farmer is the only one to go through this is wrong – 90% of the taxpayers are residential – where have the farmers been?

  25. Gary says:

    Tori, you need to do some research. Residential market value assessments have increased drastically over the past 12 years. Many over 100%. Farm land is being sold at huge acreage increases and therefore farms are now facing the market value increases that residential have experienced for many years.

  26. Torri says:

    I don’t remember citizens approaching council to ask for a change to the mil rate when the taxes went up 100%. Why? Because they dont need to.. Because it automatically changes! The county automatically lowers the mil rate to reduce the impact on residents. It swings annually. If it didnt, an increase of 100% would increase the budget by 100% and the county corp would be dancing.
    Farmers are asking for the same treatment. Equality between the tax classes.
    When residential rates went up that was largely due to waterfront becoming a hot commodity. Waterfront is not a different tax class. There is no equitable way to lower the mil rate on waterfront alone. It is not a comparable situation.
    Municipal taxes are a tough one to wrap your head around and all the rhetoric and shaming doesn’t help. Farmers are trying to improve an unfair system and do so with respect and compromise.

  27. Torri says:

    Gary, when did residential tax rates go up by more than 10%? Let alone 150%? They didn’t. They went up 6 to 9%. When residential rates go up by so little compared to farm land it results in farmers actually paying for a larger portion of the budget than they have previously. Farmers are now shouldering a bigger amount of the tax burden amongst fewer payers. All they are asking is that everyone takes on their fair share. Maintain the status quo by keeping the portion of the budget they were contributing to the same. Instead the county is reducing the portion residential taxes are responsible for on the backs of farmers. Actually, a mil rate of 13% would maintain the status quo. Farmers compromised by asking 20% in spite of the increased tax burden to agricultural land.
    And let me remind you…$12.
    Wait until you go to the grocery store this summer.

  28. Dennis Fox says:

    My concerns about John Thompson’s request to council has nothing to do with not wanting to support my neighbour – it does have everything to do with creating a taxation system that makes sense for everyone. Comparisons have rightfully been made between the farmers plight now and that of the residential property owners a few year ago. I can tell you that I was part of a delegation that approached the council of the day, after residential taxes had a similar 100-200% increase and some had even greater increases. We didn’t ask for our taxes to be placed onto the backs of others – as what is being asked by the farmers now! Instead, our request was to have some level of government take on the responsibility of property taxes, so we would know who to fight and not re-elect. Our current system is one where no level of government takes responsibility for the taxes they collect – they each blames the other – Council blames the province and MPAC for the high assessment value and MPAC blames Council for the high mil rate. The taxpayer is caught in the middle of a system of “JUST PAY UP or Else!” We have a system of “Taxation Without Representation!” and now the farmers want to make it worse by having others pay for them. How ridiculous and self-serving.

    Frankly the PEC OFA have alienated themselves because of the approach they chose to take by asking Council to enhance the taxes of others, in order for them to have it a bit easier. But as some writers have pointed out – where were the farmers when they needed help? – nowhere to be seen. Sorry, but with this example – the OFA have to pay up on their own. Support is a two way street – it is the OFA who needs to ask why the community doesn’t support their idea? The answer really is obvious.

  29. Gary says:

    I don’t know where you have been but residential have already gone thru the big hit of market value assessment. There was no relief. I don’t think anyone is trying to unfairly knock the farmer, they just want an equitable system that doesn’t provide subsidies to some and not others.

  30. Torri says:

    Taxes exploded for farmers by up to 150%. Never have we seen this increase. Not in our water bills, hydro or residential rates. It is unprecedented. Farmers don’t complain about supporting town water, economic development, side walk plowing,etc. They just ask to be treated fairly. If this increase happened and all residents needed to come up with an extra $10000 in 2 years farmers would not hesitate to pay $12 ($12!!!!) To help out the community. Council wouldn’t hesitate to adjust the mil rate to create an acceptable increase (under 50%). It’s all about being in a community. If you want agriculture in the County to be only multimillionaire farms, we are on the right path
    Perhaps it’s a karma thing. It’s going to happen to the residential assessments too. Because there is a bigger pool of payers, the jump may be 13% or so, but don’t you dare complain.
    Town water rates seem to be the hot topic and why should you support farmers if you need to pay so much for water? Farmers pay to maintain the system too even though they don’t use it. Were farmers complaining about hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to truck water to picton? No! They have a great investment, both financially and emotionally.

  31. ADJ says:

    Do you ever expect to see the town water rates being stable even for two years?
    So taking a leap here…what if I requested my water supply meter to be shut off, even removed? drastic yes but drastic times call for drastic measures. Reminds me of some of the schemes as in membership fees or service rates that charge outrageous monthly cost for just the convenience. Then add in the interest if you struggle to pay it on time every month. Those minimum 2 yr. contract deals for example really tic me off and I have learned to find other ways.

  32. Mark says:

    Keep in mind the bi monthly base charge of $137.40 or $824.40 annually. This is the cost if you never used a drop of water. And there is no tax write off. So I would gladly subsidize the farmers taxes if urban water is assisted as well.

  33. ADJ says:

    Mark, if I was a Picton resident and I was severely stretched to meet my water/sewer rates monthly I would be looking at alternatives. Who says I can’t put a simple in-ground or basement cistern and buy my water at bulk delivered rates? Approx.$50–$75 for 3000 gal.I have no idea what the rate would be…but it would definitely be less than $200 a month.That’s just crazy!
    Another option would be to sell the Picton house,(they are a gold mine these days) move out of Town even a mile or so and feel the freedom of free water and a septic system.

  34. Emily says:

    Not much more to be said, other than we have some multi million dollar farming operations here in the County. We have others much more in need.

  35. Fred says:

    I cannot believe that the CAO’s time and that of staff are being used up at taxpayer’s expense to deliver the same report as last year. NO!

  36. Mark says:

    This issue was already addressed by Council last year. Why is it once again receiving air time? I think ADJ makes a point but it opens the door for many. I think there is a strong argument for water rate relief to be shared but no one including farmers are buying it. Water rate crisis means you cannot sustain it while farmland tax increases mean your wealth holdings has increased. And they get tax deductions for property taxes.Hard argument to sell to a young residential family struggling to pay over $200 a month for a basic need as in water!

  37. Gil says:

    Mark. The farmers are already paying this bill and continue to pay this bill and more! They give more then their fair share in every way imaginable. I thank them for having the opportunity to live in this amazing County! Hug a Farmer today!

    This is not a tax shift from the farmers to the citizens. They are the citizens! Those who see this issue as tax shift are using some borrowed words from some very unimaginative and cruel people. Meanwhile you have a council that supports tax increases all the while they spend $1,000,000’s that need to be scrutinized and saved.

    Seriously there are better things to work on. And so long as we stumble on this ridiculous debate we will never get to what really matters. Thank God there is an election this year.

  38. ADJ says:

    I would be in support of giving a tax break to a farm related landowner who is just attempting to establish a business in this County and is using his farm business to supplement his low wage job here.When and if he becomes more successful then he would pay the higher rate. We need to keep these small time farms. Many cases indicate both him and her are working part time/full time off the farm. Very discouraging if all your farm income is going to pay taxes,mortgage,seed,spray etc.Throw a drout or flood season into the equation and their done. There should be a formula based on overall income/financial standing that excludes a “retiree farmer” who can well afford to pay their fair share. When many of the dairy farms ceased operation because of age,costs,labour etc.there were dairy quotas and dairy herds sold for over a million dollars…these would not be eligible. There needs to be a cutoff point of who is eligible and who is not. But is this discrimination? A question for the County tax department.

  39. Gil says:

    Dennis. Thank you for your comment. Many people wonder what the role of the Chamber is. For you and any other citizen I have attached the Chamber Mandate. Please note: Farms are busnesses. They are Very important to our way if life in the County.

    The Chamber of Commerce represents the voice of business in Prince Edward County:

    Communicates ideas to policy makers,
    Is a primary source of information to residents and visitors
    Provides a responsible voice for tourism and commerce in the community.
    Promotes a healthy economic climate
    Advocates for appropriate economic development
    Encourages cultural, civic, educational and recreational interests.

  40. Gil says:

    This debate rages on in the wrong forum. Mark, Denis, Gary you are absolutely correct in identifying the concern of rising costs for living in the County. A cost we, including farm households, are all carrying. However, the farmers are not to blame for increasing costs laid at our doorstep. In my opinion the real problem is cost management. The County Council and Staff can do a much better job of cost containment. There a loads of examples (ie. why do we have two arenas, why do we spend over $1,000,000 on Economic Development) of costs incurred in the County that need closer examination. We don’t need to wack the farmers with a gigantic tax increase, divide the community and suffer a stalemate in Council. We need better leadership focused on accountability and tax savings to the tax payer.

  41. Dennis Fox says:

    Once again, I am surprised to see the Chamber of Commerce taking a side in this issue. Perhaps their President might want to explain why they have taken such a keen interest? This is now the second letter from the Chamber supporting the farmers’ position. Also, I would hope to see included in the President’s letter an explanation of why the Chamber never once came out in support of residential homeowners facing huge property tax increases – which has happened on several occasions.

    As a shopper and supporter of local business, the Chamber’s actions are forcing me to reconsider my shopping habits and having me question if my loyalty isn’t misplaced. Saving money for me is just as important as it is for the Chamber or any farmer. Obviously a campaign of -“Shop Where It Is Cheaper” is something they would not only understand, but would fully support – given their money sharing ways. Unfortunately for PEC businesses and farmers, such a campaign would exclude them.

  42. Chris Keen says:

    Farmers can write off property tax and fuel costs, the rest of us can not. On top of everything else, our heating (fuel) costs are rising too. Every property owner is experiencing an increase in the value of their property, and thus rising taxes. There is no room for unequal treatment of one segment of property owner over another. Council should move on!

  43. Gary Mooney says:

    Implementing subsidies from one group to another puts everyone on a slippery slope:

    People with million dollar homes could ask for a subsidy on their taxes, because they don’t use three times the services of the average homeowner.

    Residents of areas with town water or water + sewer might request a subsidy on water / sewer rates from those on septic tanks.

    People on fixed incomes could make a case for a tax subsidy from those who are earning income.

    People who own homes used only seasonally or on weekends could ask for a rebate on their taxes for the percentage of time that they are not here.

    Residents of Ameliasburgh could propose a lower tax rate because they don’t make much use of rural roads in the County.

    On and on …

  44. hockeynan says:

    Another thing farmers have to cope with is the cost of fuel.With oil prices rising will make a huge inpact in fuel costs. Say if you have a tractor that burns 30 liters of fuel an hour and the cost of fuel is .30 cents a liter more and runs 12 hours a day that amounts to 108.00 per day more than it did last year and you people are concerned about your water rate

  45. hockeynan says:

    Yes property values are rising for farms but that doesn’t help pay taxes.Prices for grains are falling and farm machinery is getting more expensive.And don’t forget who feeds you.Just in case some of you don’t know it is FARMERS

  46. Susan says:

    Residential tax rates from MPAC market value assessments have increased dramatically in the County the past 12 years. Residential have not come to Council once let alone twice for relief. The most critical issue affecting affordability and growth are water user rates which are near the highest in Canada. Farmers land value wealth is increasing dramatically and that needs to be taken into açcount. Council already rejected this last year. Enough with this.

  47. Gary says:

    I agree Dennis. No tax help for water that is surpassing property taxes so I can’t support a handout to farmers. And by the way their property wealth is growing significantly.

  48. Dennis Fox says:

    I congratulate our Council for a good decision! As the Mayor clearly pointed out – 63% of our citizens are retirees and most of them are on fixed incomes. Many live in Picton or Wellington and are on municipal water – paying ever increasing amounts for their water. I don’t see any farmers coming forward offering to help with their bills – do you? I am a rural resident – I don’t expect anyone to help pay my bills – including my property taxes. Between MPAC and the Municipal mil rate, many had to sell and move – again I didn’t see any effort by the farmers to help them.

    It is time for “some” of the farmers to stop their complaining and just step up to the plate. Enough already!

  49. Mark says:

    No thanks, Gil.
    If you are so worried about it, how about you pay for all of the farmers?

  50. Gil Leclerc says:

    Our council can’t decide between a tax increase of $12/year for each taxpayer or gigantic tax of approximately $2,000/yr for a farmer.

    Please promote good math skills and rational sharing of the tax load to our council. Council continue a very painful and unnecessary debate that no ordinary County citizen would even think about more than two seconds! This debate polarizes citizens against farmers, villanizing our most important business sector in the County! Good job council!

    Clearly some councillors need to improve their math skills. Below, I illustrate the simplified math problem.

    Increasing the Farm Tax Ratio would benefit the $33,000,000 County budget about $500,000. Council has two choices. 1) Take the tax from the farmers or 2) Spread the budget tax on the tax roll – or about 10,000 households. Here is the math.

    1) 500,000 divided by 200 (farmers) = Real Increase on Farms $2500/yr!
    2) 500,000 divided by 10,000 (citizens) = $50/yr

    CAO, James Hepburn, advised council, that if the farmers are not taxed, the cost to the tax base would be an increase of $12 per year! Yet, staff, in a monumental lack of imagination, continues to recommend taxing the farmers!

    Fixed income aside, I can only think of a few people in the County that think this is a tough math problem!

    Please everyone, contact your councillor and help them on this decision.

    Don’t rob the farmer!

    Gil Leclerc
    Prince Edward County Chamber of Commerce
    Community Economic Development Commission
    Small Business Owner

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