Commercial tax rates unlikely to drop

By Chad Ingram

Published Jan. 3 2017

It’s unlikely that commercial and industrial tax rates in the townships of Haliburton County will be reduced any time soon.

County treasurer Elaine Taylor presented a report on the subject to councillors during a Dec. 14 meeting.
“County council formally asked staff to explore the possibility of reducing commercial and industrial taxes in the county and to determine the impact that reduction would have on the tax rates for other property classes for 2017” Taylor’s report read.

Taylor told councillors the idea had been discussed at a municipal administration meeting as well as on a conference call with treasurers of the county’s townships.
She explained that local rates were compared with those of other townships in Eastern Ontario.
“Our tax rates are all in the 10th percentile; of 89 municipalities reviewed we are in the lower nine” Taylor’s report read. “Reducing our commercial and industrial tax rates is not likely to bring new commerce or industry to the county.”

Taylor also told councillors that reducing commercial and industrial tax rates would also essentially amount to a large tax break for the provincial government.
“Closer examination of the commercial properties in the local municipalities revealed that both Algonquin Highlands and Dysart et al received significant payments in lieu from the Province of Ontario for assessments related to Algonquin Park” her report read. “Total payments to the municipalities from those sources in 2016 were approximately $486000. Reducing the commercial rate to that of the residential rate give the province tax saving of approximately $152000 while adding that burden to our residential property owners.”
“What it substantiates is that we’re in a very competitive environment” said Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin.