The Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario (TAPMO) has asked the Ontario government to change property tax requirements for quarries within the province.
Wellington County, along with other members TAPMO recently met with Stan Cho, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance, to discuss changes how aggregate properties are taxed across Ontario under an equitable valuation system.
The meeting was held during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference, where municipal and provincial policymakers discuss issues facing both levels of government.
TAPMO members delivered several policy-driven ideas to Cho that would adjust the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) property tax valuations for aggregate.
“We had a very productive conversation with Parliamentary Assistant Stan Cho about how the current MPAC system is forcing homeowners and businesses to pay more, and we are eager to continue this dialogue,” said Puslinch Mayor James Seeley.
“Under a policy-driven, equitable approach, MPAC can enable gravel pits to pay their fair share so that they can continue supporting the municipalities at a time when we need their help most.”
One proposed change is for the Ministry of Finance to create a separate property class for aggregate producing properties, as it did in 2015 for landfills, which enabled municipalities to maintain stability in local taxation levels.
Other recommendations include the Ministry of Finance issuing a directive to MPAC for how to assess these types of properties based on their industrial or market value, using the same land values as comparable properties in the area, or removing the exemption of aggregate in the Assessment Actthat limits the ability of MPAC to assess the full value of the property.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the urgency for a policy-driven, equitable approach. Municipalities across Ontario are fighting to continue providing a high standard of services to our families and businesses who need them now more than ever. The lost tax revenue undermines our ability to enhance those services at the time when our residents are suffering,” said Wellington County Warden Kelly Linton. “We know aggregate producers want to be part of the solution in terms of helping families and businesses get back on their feet – the very people who are carrying the burden of the current MPAC system.”
TAPMO claims MPAC’s current property tax valuation structure is unfair, as active gravel pits incurs less property tax than single family homes and small businesses. It also leads to properties that are located in the same areas and are similar to gravel pits receiving vastly different property valuations, which contradicts the principle of fairness and transparency underpinning our taxation system that similar properties should be treated and taxed equally.
While TAPMO notes that aggregate sites are important job creators and an increasingly critical element of public works that help to fuel steady economic growth, the sites generate significantly less revenue for municipalities and the province than other possible land uses.