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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. Chuck says:

    I didn’t think they wanted the mil rate adjusted or lowered, they want the 25% of residential lowered. I believe the 8 municipalities that lowered had a much larger agriculture base as opposed to residential. Prince Edward is primarily residential and seniors.

  2. D rogers says:

    Dennis Fox, mil rates are adjusted all the time for other tax classes. As I mentioned before, it happens annually for us residential tax payers. County regularly dips into their porperty tax stabilization fund to keep the residential mil rate low. There’s also 8 other municipalities that have lowered the mil rate for farmer’s this year. They are doing exactly what you say has not been done. It is a tool at the County’s disposal. The county sets the tax rate and collects the property taxes. Why would Farmer’s go to the province about this? It is completely out of provincial jurisdiction.

    Farmer’s are currently lobbying the province about the big increase put out by MPAC, but you of all people, are very aware how that goes. What did your fight accomplish? Even the County itself says it is a fair system in their report. The only tool left is to appeal to council.

    It is the order in which the County does things that has created this issue. They should have seen that this enormous taxation increase would be a hardship for any of the tax classes and treated it exactly like it treats the residential tax class, by lowering the mil rate. End of story.
    If residential went up by 150%, like farmers, many homeowner’s would be in a terrible position. Council wouldn’t hesitate to adjust the mil rate for residential. Treat farmland with the same respect. Not only is it their homes at stake, it’s their livelihood, businesess, jobs, and heritage.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    The farmers have asked the wrong people to provide them with the solution to their tax problem – they should be lobbying Queens Park instead of asking the already over taxed residential taxpayers of PEC to be their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    I don’t ever recall hearing about nor ever reading about when one group of taxpayers asked any level of government to tax another group of taxpayers because their properties increased in value so much, that they claim they can’t afford to pay their taxes. And just what makes their request right and fair to the others? The answer is obvious – it doesn’t!

  4. doug R says:

    Emily, I’m not saying “too sad, too bad” to waterfront owners. I am just saying that Council did not have an avenue or by-law tools at the time to do anything for them. Waterfront payers could join an association and continue to work with council if they so choose to push for the development of said tool. No one is stopping them.

    The OFA were not asked to help when the waterfront issue arose. Did you ask them Dennis? You may have just got their support as I am sure some retired farmers out there are waterfront owners. If you didn’t ask, how do you know? You could also become a member. It’s only $260.00 a year. Same with the chamber of commerce. In order to get the help of these associations, you need to become a member and pay your dues so that they can hear your complaints.

  5. hockeynan says:

    Very good answer Sarah

  6. Sarah says:

    Dennis- Strangely enough, the vast majority of farmers (like 99.999%) don’t live in barns or sheds or literally “off the land”. They live in houses. Houses that saw the same raised assessments and tax increases the rest of you residential tax payers did.

  7. Barney Rubble says:

    Farming is a business; with costs and all the tax relief others do not enjoy. You make it work or you get out. And if you get out now you sell at a huge profit.There are a whole lot of very,very profitable farms in this County as witnessed by their expansion. They are low on the list for further subsidy.

  8. Emily says:

    Wouldn’t it be fair if seniors, or homeless or young struggling families had an association to go to Council for relief and shift their costs in life.

    Separate from that I have heard farm supporters say that since water front owners are not a tax class there is nothing for them, too sad too bad. But it is quite appropriate for the farmer to knock on their door for more.

  9. Cynthia T says:

    Dennis, it seems like you carry a lot of residual upset over the increase you experienced 10 years ago which is more than understandable.

    As a person who has experienced this himself, I would think you would have a little more compassion and understanding for what farmers are going through.

  10. d rogers says:

    I have read the Times article and it doesn’t state any new arguments. Simply that waterfront was hit (not nearly with the increase farmers face) and county didn’t do something then so it should never make adjustments for anyone else. Great argument.

    Again, County has no available tools to help waterfront. Sorry. It does however to have the power to lower the mil rate on farming. A tool that was to designed to be used in this exact situation. SO, because there was no possible way for council to do anything for waterfront owners, it cannot ever do anything to mitigate damaging levels of taxation on farmland? Excellent.

    I think the key part of the times article is that it shows the hardships individuals undergo with a tax increase of even 12%.

    ” A year earlier, council had raised her taxes by more than 12 per cent.”

    Mary’s taxes went up 12% and she had a hard time absorbing those costs. What if they went up 112%?? Is anyone here noticing the astronomical impact of that?

    None of the numbers used to make you feel sorry for waterfront owners comes near to the increase farmers are facing (50%, 70% vs. 112-150%). None of their increases even came close to doubling. Check the numbers, Dennis.

  11. Dennis Fox says:

    One more time & my last time – – – what farmers are facing now is what many other experienced back around 2005 – property taxes increase hugely (some more than doubled)

    READ this weeks editorial in the Wellington Times, if you doubt me.

    Many people not only got hit back then with big increases, since then, they too have had yearly tax increases of 3-5%. Stop this nonsense of claiming that because it is now the farmers turn to get hit, the rest should pick up their tab. Frankly, if the farmers have a problem – take it to Queens Park – just like what many other homeowner did because of MPAC. Now stop trying to find excuses for literally passing the buck!

  12. hockeynan says:

    Some of these farmers work all year and after bills are paid have nothing to show for there hard work.Hopefully they made enough to break even.

  13. Susan says:

    I dare say it is more that $12. And as pity seeking as your address is, no where did I see a reference to young urban families or seniors on fixed incomes struggling more and more to make ends meet.

  14. doug Rogers says:

    I do not blame staff for their decision or am I tearing them apart personally. I am criticizing the methodology and reasoning of a report. I was asked why I don’t support the report and I think I laid out very logical reasons on how I came to that decision.
    And again Dennis, you complain of an increase of 3-5% annually. Wouldn’t you be upset too if the County increased your taxes by 120% instead of 3-5%? Farmers would rejoice at 3-5% at the moment!!

    Either way, I have wasted enough time trying to present the whole scenario. I’m not a farmer so I have no skin in the game.

    I do hope we come to a long term plan for preserving small farms in PEC. There’s too many old people here that are going to need the help of the younger generation if they want to stay in the County, including myself. My neighbouring farmer on one side plows my driveway and his wife works as a PSW at a local nursing home. On the other side, the farmer there has helped me fix my lawn mower numerous times and his wife is a nurse at our local hospital. My grandkids love visiting their cows and chickens. It keeps them interested in visiting old Grandad. Both of my neighbours work extremely hard, but the margins are low. This has pushed them to think about closing up shop and moving away. Selfishly, I will miss the help, and camaraderie as I know the houses will become vacation rentals and the farms rented out. I’ll be surrounded by temporary vacationers and monoculture soybeans and corn. I won’t be able to stay in my home when I’m older because we won’t have the young workers to care for me or help with maintenance. We won’t have the funding that’s based on population to fund local senior organizations.
    I guess I do have skin in the game. We all kind of do.I am shocked that people are so blind to the ramifications of not supporting these young farmers.

    But hey, keep your $12. It’s just a few dumb, wealthy young farmers that the County will lose.

  15. Chuck says:

    How is this meeting supposed to assist with decision making? Does Council hope that residential ratepayers pack the hall and say hey no problem, I don’t mind picking up the tab! I believe Council’s indecision on a very clear matter with strong support from staff has created a fracture.

  16. Dennis Fox says:

    Don’t blame staff for this situation.nor for their recommendations either. They are asked to investigate all options that make financial sense. It is and has been our council that make the final financial decisions. Amalgamation has not been kind to a lot of communities – but here too many other decisions have been made that we simply couldn’t afford….. a $16 mil. sewage plant that escalated in price to $33 mil, a $14 mil arena, $1 mil on Union RD – to name a few. Plus maintaining a council of 16 for 24,000 people AND we pay for it all! Our taxes have increased on the average of 3 to 5% yearly – who can afford that? And now the farmers are complaining and want the rest of us to pick up their tab too! NONSENSE!

  17. Sarah says:

    So, a 69% increase in taxes isn’t enough, lets go for the full 110%? And farmers are the greedy ones. By reducing the tax rate to 20% from 25, the County is still getting more tax revenue from land owners. Also, the idea is that farmers DON’T sell their land, they farm it, pass it on to the next generation or rent it out for those who aren’t in a position to buy.

  18. Sue3 says:

    All this proves is that amalgamating urban and rural municipalities doesn’t work.
    Perhaps we should be after the provincial government to allow de-amalgamation?

  19. Paul says:

    County staff is not always right like the recommendation to sell off Old Picton Town Hall lets not forget the Benson Park revitalization project

  20. Susan says:

    If Doug could ever somehow prove staff are biased and poor decision makers then they should be removed from their positions. I believe staff nailed this one right on.

  21. Chuck says:

    Exactly Mark. The reason the land value assessments for farmers have increased is because of the healthy sales to buyers clammering after the land so they can profit. I have a hard time assisting farmers taxes when they are sitting on quite the money making opportunity.

  22. Mark says:

    Easy to respect staff after tearing them apart. I’ll take the unbiased opinion of CAO Hepburn on this matter. Farmers already have huge tax advantages over residential. If you can’t cut it get out of business and sell the land at a huge profit to those that can make it work!

  23. Doug Rogers says:

    In short, Yes staff are wrong on this issue.

    The County is not immune to bias or poor decisions or recommendations. The phrases they have used such as tax break and shift demonstrate this. Hepburn repeatedly emphasized that low income families will most be effected but had to be directly asked by a councillor before he would admit that the sum was a measly $12.Not very transparent as he knew he’d get chirped about that sum.

    Using the County’s numbers, farmland contributed $508,184 in 2016, by 2020 that number will be $1,065,937. They go from paying 1.6% to 2.8% of the budget.Mean while, residential gets a 1% reduction. Staff believes this is fair but did not state a reason or any justifications besides that residential assessments will most likely rise in 2021-25 so it will naturally even out again. No thought given to the farmers that need to come up with these thousands of extra funds in the mean time.

    He also repeatedly fell back on MPAC assessments being a fair system for taxation. We all hold the same believe on this one. Farmland is especially sensitive to prospecting and development inflation.

    Last year, his argument was that no other municipalities were doing it. We know of 8 that have lowered their ratios including Lennox & Addington next door.

    His ideas of setting precedent for other tax classes are also ridiculous. Waterfront is not its own tax class so the county has its hands tied in terms of adjusting mil rates for that group (sorry). In terms of the others, the will still be treated on a case by case bases. Do you really think the county won’t negotiate property taxes with the new Cannabis grow op in trade for jobs? They do this all the time.

    He ended the report in a feel good way by saying hey, cheer up. There’s new legislation coming down the tubes about agri-business. We’ll only charge you 25% of the industrial rate for the first 50% of your assessed value…which is even more than you are paying now…but you won’t be quick enough on the math to realize that until later.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I respect the Staff and their work, but they are not without their own biases. I like to look at the whole situation and analyze it for myself if you haven’t noticed.

  24. Matti Kopamees says:

    So everyone has their shorts in a knot about farmers getting a tax subsidy. Before judgement gets passed on whether this is right or wrong – have the farmers appealed to the OMB re their assessments? If not, then that would be their first step – not going to council to get a tax break! Imagine if every farmer (and everyone else who thought their assessment was too high) appealed to the OMB, we could bring this entire silly process to a standstill. It’s getting close to a time when political affiliations need to be thrown by the wayside and we as taxpayers raise our voices and speak out to these obvious inequities that are coming to the fore. Paralyzing the system seems like a good way to start. These appeals are legitimate and we should take advantage of the few avenues left to be heard.

  25. Fred says:

    Are you saying staff are wrong?

  26. hockeynan says:

    Doug Rogers ,you are the most sensible person on this site

  27. Fred says:

    So you flatly refute our County’s staff report that states “Reducing the farm tax ratio is not a fair and equitable policy decision for all ratepayers in the County of Prince Edward “. Our staff are wrong. Is that correct?

  28. Doug Rogers says:

    Mark. What I am saying is that this should have been set when they were preparing the budget as it is what they would do for residential. They made a mistake, and didn’t address it soon enough. So now that things are said and done, it now appears to be a shift because of the way the County does business. As others have put it, it is a correction.

    Didn’t Torri explain how residential is actually responsible for less of the total tax burden/budget than in 2016. THIS cut was done on the back of the farmers. Farmers just want it corrected. It is funny how this is coming full circle. Residential got a tax break on the backs of farmers in 2017, but when farmers want to return the balance back to neutral, residential complains that farmers want a tax break on their backs. Are you starting to see my point? Oh what a tangled web we weave.

    Also, $24 for the next 2 years is not going to change the outcome for anyone. $8000-$10000 over the next two years just might. I don’t like to argue based on affordability. I’d rather appeal to your sense of fairness, facts, and an equal taxation system. Or even to a sense of benefit to local economic and social futures, but I feel that may be a lost cause.

    It is also fact that farmers are feeling a pinch as well. Low commodity prices, hydro, water, astronomical property tax increases, wage increases, etc. We could play the whose got more problems game, but neither would win.

    Fact: Both tax classes should be treated the same. Mil rate should be adjusted to mitigate the effect of huge increases in property tax for BOTH farmland and residential.

    Fact: This correction should be made in all fairness to correct for the unfair treatment between these two tax classes

    Fact: residential has more payers so this correction really has no effect financially on them relatively speaking. ($12)

    I believe all the spin is coming from your side Mark. Neglecting to mention that farmers are overwhelmed as well, falsely conveying it as a tax break, and trying to claim that farmers weren’t there to help when waterfront taxes went up. Farmers were paying their max mil rate at the time to assist in fulfilling the budget. That is all they can do tax wise to assist in that situation.

  29. Mark says:

    Doug; you can spin it any which way you want but at the end of the day you want to shift a portion of farmland tax onto the backs of residential taxpayers, some of whom are already overwhelmed by assessment increases and a water crisis. That is fact.

  30. Doug Rogers says:

    Dennis, I believe you are missing the point. Farmers are trying to correct an error within the system that keeps popping up. The mil rate should be treated the same for both residential and farmland tax classes. NEITHER groups should experience an increase above 50%. Period. The correct systems are available for use and should be employed. Both classifications have struggling, fixed income individuals as well as wealthy individuals with waterfront, such as yourself. It is about correcting a mistake, not about a tax break or costing other residents more money.
    If you use the argument that they’re land value went up so they can afford their taxes….then any increase in tax is a good thing and we all know how you feel about that. That argument doesn’t hold, and we all understand that.

    Unfortunately the OFA was unable to help you with your increase as you do need to be a member and pay up on your membership fees, but their are organizations that specifically help people pay their residential property taxes. Your taxes may have doubled but as others have stated, they could not have possibly doubled in 3 years.

    My comment about asking you where you are from was to try and understand your disconnect with rural living, not to insult you. There was a lack of understanding of the bigger picture here and the effect this has on young farmers. First of all, you assume all farmers are rich and that an increase in land value is a good thing. Not true. Higher annual costs, no growth potential, combined with the huge debt a young farmer needs to take on is going to push them out. Even if their land is worth more than when they bought it, they have to make payments. If they can’t do that, the bank gets paid first so they don’t end up with much, and they are out of their home, and out of a job.

    Also, comments like yours where young farmers are only in it for themselves are disheartening. They produce food for everyone at low margins, they volunteer as firemen, hold community events, and help with the picton fair. They employ thousands of County Folk. But they just do it all for themselves. So sad that you think that. Go make a farmer friend and get the true story.

  31. Chris Keen says:

    Chuck, you could also add “or received a campaign donation from a farmer”. My guess is, either way, that would be everyone on council and the mayor resulting in no quorum. Another reason why this meeting is unnecessary and should not be held.

  32. Lawrence C says:

    Trying to argue that farmers should lower the price of food to help struggling people? They do actually. Farmers are one of the biggest donators to our local food banks.
    They are not wasting council time. This is the first time they have expressed any concern in over a decade. They represent over 2000 people in the County that work in agriculture, they should get their fair share of elected official’s time. Just sayin’

  33. Chuck says:

    Any Councillors who own farmland or have relatives that do, will have to declare a conflict on this one.

  34. Susan says:

    If Council succumb to this poor farmers help us with our taxes while our wealth increases scheme, against the staff report and the CAO’s warnings they will have created the slippery slope. The lineups for relief will be staggering. My fear is that the farming community will pack the February 22nd meeting which shouldn’t even be being held to sway opinion in their favour. I have never quite seen a case where someone whose wealth is increasing is asking for a handout from others, many in a poorer financial situation.

  35. Dennis Fox says:

    Doug –

    Since moving to PEC 15 years ago, I have always depended upon a well and septic – it cost me a lot of money to install and my taxes at one property went through the roof – more than doubled. I don’t recall ever having anyone offer to pay my bills – not even a farmer – but I never considered them to be bad neighbours because of it.

  36. Doug Rogers says:

    Farmers do already contribute to assisting with the water & sewage treatment. That’s how the system works. They pay into the budget and the council uses that money to pay for those services and maintenance. Rural taxes help pay to maintain the water system for town even though it is not used by those individuals. The actual users are responsible for additionally contributing to the system because they are hooked up. I feel for everyone on town water as I am disgusted by the fees I have to pay too. It bites. But rural land owners don’t ask for us to maintain their wells so we do need to pay for our hook up.

    Town water services is a completely separate issue. It is another rising cost we should be working on for young and old alike but Farmers cannot be blamed for or be billed that cost. They already contribute with their land taxes and residential taxes.

    There is so much heresy on here it is painful. Tis the nature of online comments, I suppose. I just hate when people don’t realize the impact of their misleading comments….

  37. Dennis Fox says:

    Doug – it doesn’t matter where I am from – I live here now and have done so for quite some time. I have no idea where you are from either & that too has nothing to do with this issue(s). The first issue being – the farmers tax situation has nothing to do with them being poor and unable to afford paying – it has everything to do with them not wanting to pay because they feel unfairly treated by the system. (Like as if they are the only ones.) The fact is – the farmers are richer because of the increase to their land value. NOT because they are poor and destitute. Your idea of community is a convenient one – help pay their bills or you are not a good community member – pure nonsense! Have the farmers ever suggested to help pay for municipal water bills or have they reduced the cost of food because people have a hard time buying good food? NO! Instead the farmers have taken care of number one – themselves! Now is no different. Did the local OFA ever come forward to offer money to someone who owned waterfront or water view property,because they could afford to live there anymore?? NO! If farmers couodn’t claim to be good community members then, then what makes them good community members now?

    As the Mayor pointed out – 90% of taxpayers are residential, 63% of those people are seniors on FIXED incomes. I think that should say it all.

    Doug, now for the second issue – the local OFA feels that they can demand our Council’s time whenever and as often as they feel fit. Personally, I would have dealt with this issue only once – not 3 or 4 times like what is happening now. Council needs to learn to stick to their decision. Where do the OFA get off thinking they can manipulate council and the public into meeting again and again over the same issue? And you think they are good community members?

    What I would like to know is – how many local farmers actually belong to the PEC OFA and how many of them support John Thompson and this request?

    I bet the entire number of farmers involved in this request, for a reduced farm tax ratio, is less than a few dozen. Maybe they should step forward like your imaginary good community members and offer to reimburse the taxpayers for the waste of staff and council time – and an apology to the public would be in order too. What do you think Doug?

  38. hockeynan says:

    Gary,water and sewage are a long ways from being free in the country. Install a septic system and dig a well plus get septic pumped.High costs

  39. Gary says:

    One could make almost all those same arguments to the young families facing ludicrous, unsustainable and out of control water & wastewater rates for urban taxpayers. What is the farmers position on this and would they be willing to share some of these exorborant cost increases? After all as you said, it is all one community.

  40. Doug Rogers says:

    Dennis, Did you read Torri’s post? It was actually quite informative. Is it really a “tax break” if it’s what the County should have done all along?

    The County controls and alters the mil rate for residential taxes annually to avoid more than 15% increase for homes, Why not do the same for farmland (especially when they are facing a 112% increase)?. If they do it for houses, isn’t it only fair they do it for farmland as well? They are usually carrying a huge debt load and are even more susceptible to huge tax increases like this. Like she said, residential rate will never see the kind of increases that farmland is experiencing because of the protections in place. I don’t see how you can just ignore this comparison and see it as fair.

    Dennis, I’m not sure where you’re from, but we are all connected out here as part of a community. If farming no longer becomes economical for small operations, our food prices go up, less local jobs, young families leave, schools close, and we have no one to look after our aging population. We need those young farmers who plow out driveways on the side and whose wives are nurses or PSWs (or vice versa). Everything is woven together in the County. Show some heart.

    If it is simply based on principle alone (and the $12 correction isn’t going to bankrupt you), Man… wow. The residential rate payers are the biggest group meaning any change to us is carried over many shoulders. We are investing in a future for PEC agriculture, an industry that employs over a 1000 people in the county. It’s the small farmers you are alienating with your talk. The ones that care about their workers and provide good jobs and healthy food. They keep the population up so we get funding for roads, schools etc. They volunteer to make PEC a better place and provide your local veggies and meats.

    What are you doing? Besides objecting vehemently about $12 and not seeing the consequences of your actions. Look at the bigger picture here mate.

    Or just stick to your guns, fail to respond to reason and protest. I suggest a hunger strike. It would actually be quite fitting in this scenario.

  41. Dennis Fox says:

    Hey Snowman – I have been silent for three days – but I also promise to keep this one short….

    I think we should all try to promote the meeting on the 22nd and attend to let our council know what our thoughts are on this matter. BUT we should also email them or phone them to get them to commit to a position.

  42. Emily says:

    Shifting tax from farmers increasing land wealth to residential is not appropriate. Council needs to proceed and shut this down. Listen to your staff if uncertain or unable to make a decision in an election year.

  43. Snowman says:

    And now the Home builders are going to council looking for a
    CONTINUED break on their fees . $1.2 mill. has been passed on to taxpayers to pay, (instead of the rich big truck driving building contractors) over the last several years.
    Seems Council can pick and chose who they hand out favours to after all. “if you do it for one group , you may have to do it for others” Thought I read that somewhere.

  44. hockeynan says:

    Just think if you bought all the farm land in Prince Edward County you could get rich overnight.Better than mutual funds

  45. hockeynan says:

    I don’t know why all you people that think farmers are doing so well don’t go out and buy a farm and farm it and see how rich you can get. I would like to see the line up.

  46. Chuck says:

    Council needs to listen to staff. This is not a difficult decision and no reason for a public meeting. There are cost issues everywhere and if you address one you better be able to address all and give them all the same consideration. And if you support this get ready for the next one!

  47. Mark says:

    I don’t know why this matter is back on the agenda or why there would be a public meeting on this. This Council already ruled on this. 2 Staff reports and the CAO have strongly recommended against entertaining a tax transfer imbalance. You can fill a hall full of farmers with that in hand to sway opinion. Council was elected to act and they should act and deny this request. This meeting is arranged to take pressure of of Council in an election year when they should be making a simple and easy decision. No!

  48. hockeynan says:

    Where do you think council got the money Gary

  49. Dennis Fox says:

    Snowman – thanks! You obviously took the time to count my comments – I am impressed!

    I just have this desire not to allow anyone to railroad this issue through with false ideas or misleading comments. And let’s be frank, this same issue is back again for the third or fourth time now, over a short period of time. I guess I just want an end to it, but refuse to have my money taken without a fight. I actually greatly respect most farmers and their work – I just don’t care for the politics of one or two farmers who think they can push our Council around – which they have done before – and that is what is happening now.

    But you are right – I will try to show mercy – but no promises of staying quiet for a prolong period of time on this issue.

    I hope that you are enjoying your “snow day.”

  50. Snowman says:

    @ Dennis Fox. Did a farmer rip you off at one time?
    50 posts on this one and 11 are from you. We get it.
    You are opposed to this idea. Yikes! Have mercy.
    And please don’t go postal on me. Just having some fun on a snowy day

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