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Gravel reassessments could be the pits for 2013 Puslinch budget discussions

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE

It looks like successful gravel pit assessment appeals could have a negative impact on this year’s budget in Puslinch.

At the Feb. 21 meeting, Mayor Dennis Lever told councillors that at a previous meeting, he’d commented on the assessment settlement for Dufferin Aggregates and the $180,000 refund the municipality will have to pay because of prior years’ taxes.

Lever said he asked staff to follow up with Wellington County on the impact this will have moving forward.

He said the assessments on various gravel sites have been reduced already, even though all the test cases (regarding gravel pits) have not been resolved yet.

“We’re looking at about $100,000 lost each year in tax revenue from just these sites - without any settlements,” said Lever.

He added determining the other settlements may take some time, but the municipality will have to deal with the new assessments now.

Once those cases are settled, the assessments may go up or down, Lever said.

“This is a substantial hit financially,” he added.

As a result, council deferred one of its budget discussions until more information was available and the township’s new CAO, Karen Landry, is in place.

“This is likely to have some impact to our organization and I think it would be prudent to have her here,” said Lever.

He noted considerable work has been done on the budget thus far, but he asked that the next budget meeting be set for early March.

Councillor Susan Fielding asked if the amount awarded to Dufferin Aggregates will be phased in.

“No,” Lever replied. “Increases are phased in, credits are immediate.”

Lever said the township was aware the assessments were being considered.

In 2008 there were some enormous assessment increases to some of the sites and, as a result, the appeals were not unexpected.

“What we didn’t expect was that the pendulum would swing back as far as it has,” said Lever. He added there is a lot of work still going on in other communities such as Caledon because of the impact this will have on the municipal tax base.

Vol 46 Issue 09

March 1, 2013

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