Township approves several measures for property taxes

Centre Well­ington Township’s committee of the whole approved in principal several recom­men­dations from its treasurer re­garding borrowing and tax collecting on Dec. 8.

Treasurer Wes Snarr said that the issues are mostly house­keeping ones, such as the interim tax levy.

That allows council to set a collection date for the first tax installment prior to having its budget passed.

The due date of first prop­erty tax installment for residential properties is Feb. 27, and the second due date is April 30. Council also heard that if all goes well, it could pass its budget by March 9.

The amount to be levied on the first two 2009 installments  will be equal to 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied in 2008. Since there are four installments, each one of the first two will be 25% of the previous year’s total, and the final two bills will include any tax increase.

In the meantime, Snarr also asked for the annual borrowing bylaw to be passed. That would allow council to borrow up to $12,014,800 between Jan. 1, and Sept. 30 next year,  and $6,007,400 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 to meet the 2009 cur­rent expenditures of the town­ship.

But Snarr said while it is normal to pass such a bylaw each year, he would be sur­prised if the township ever had to use that power.

“We certainly won’t in the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve never had that cash flow issue” and the township has never used that right to borrow for emergencies.

Snarr did recommend one change to the way taxes are being collected for a couple of property types.

Snarr said in his report to council that the interim levy by­laws had one item that is different this year because the town­ship had implemented new computer software.

He said that would affect the 320 township properties with “mixed” assessment. That usually means commercial build­ings with apartments above them.

Snarr explained that indus­trial, commercial, and multi-residential properties (apart­ment buildings) include capped and non-capped tax classes.

Last year, the commercial and residential  uses for those 320 properties were billed on a single tax bill with four installments.

“A common example of this would be a downtown shop with an apartment on the sec­ond floor,” he explained, and added, “Staff have learned from experience through the 2008 tax billing cycle that re­conciling the tax billings be­comes a much more complex and time consuming task with the inclusion of a ‘mixed’ billing, and further it was found that the affected property own­ers were divided in their pre­ference for mixed versus separ­ate billings.”

He said about half the property owners do not mind receiving a single tax bill, but the other half wants separate bills for rental properties. He added that with the new com­puter systems the township is using, it can easily accom­modate people with the mixed class properties, and will send them separate bills to make it easier for their own book­keep­ing.

The taxes levied under the bylaw for assessment in the commercial, industrial and multi-residential tax classes are payable in two equal install­ments, more or less, and the dates for payment are March 31 for the first installment, and the second on May 29.