MOOREFIELD – Mapleton council has passed a new resolution regarding aggregate industry property taxes.
On Oct. 13, council passed the resolution prepared by Wellington County treasurer Ken DeHart outlining why the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) revised criteria for assessing aggregate resources properties does not fairly assess the current value of those properties.
The township and the county are asking for a review of the current assessment scheme for such properties to address the inequality of property values.
They’re also asking the province to work with MPAC to address this issue so aggregate property is assessed at industrial value.
“This is a very large issue county-wide, especially in our southern municipalities that have many gravel pits, like Guelph-Eramosa and Puslinch,” Mayor Gregg Davidson said.
“It is millions of dollars too to the county for this aggregate.
“When you have a residential property paying more taxes than aggregate producer for their site, it’s a little bit one-sided when it comes to how the property taxes are being assessed.”
The county has been working on fair aggregate resource property assessments for six years, he said.
CAO Manny Baron confirmed there are three aggregate operations in Mapleton.
However, not all councillors were on board with the motion.
Councillor Michael Martin brought it to council’s attention that if aggregate operators begin paying higher taxes, the additional cost will likely be passed onto customers, like Mapleton.
“There will be a cost to this at the end of the day,” he said.
Davidson explained that the aggregate operators in Mapleton are not just providing product for the township, so by increasing the taxes, Mapleton and the county will receive more money, but any increase of fees will be shared between all customers, not just locally.
Councillor Marlene Ottens pointed out similarities between this aggregate resolution and Mapleton’s resolution asking for the province to review the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program because of the long stranding concerns from rural municipalities about the impact of the farm tax rebate system on their local tax base.
Prior to 1998 farms paid 100 per cent of their tax assessment to the municipality and received a 75 per cent rebate from the province.
However, in 1998 the program changed and farmland property owners now pay 25% of their assessed value to the municipality.
Meaning the cost that was once shared province-wide now falls on the shoulders of the non-farm tax payers in the local municipality.
“I guess the difference is that an aggregate business … if their taxes are increased, they can pass that onto the consumers whereas farmers generally cannot,” Ottens said.
However, it didn’t sit well for her that Mapleton was going to support the aggregate resolution when there are only three pits in the township, and only Puslinch supported Mapleton’s ask for a review of the Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program.
“Not that this is a tit for tat kind of game we’re playing but I don’t know, maybe it is,” she said.
“I’m not sure about this.”
Davidson once again reminded council that it’s a county-wide issue.
“Our residents still get charged taxation from the county so they lose that kind of valuation that gets put on our residents again,” he said.
“So just as the lost revenue of the farm tax gets put on our urban areas, so does the lost revenue of the evaluation of the gravel pits.
“So one way or another, again farms and urban areas are paying for the gravel pits to be assessed at a very low evaluation.”
Council voted in favour of the resolution with only Martin voting in opposition.