Dufferin County lends a hand to local farmers, lowers tax ratio rate back to 2017 numbers

March 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews

Dufferin County Council has dropped the farm tax ratio rate back to the 2017 level.

County council during its public meeting March 14 set the rate for farmland at 0.23. That’s down from the 0.25 ratio established in 2018.

Councillor Bob Currie, mayor of Amaranth, said there are many Ontario jurisdictions that could have a lower farm rate than Dufferin’s. He said Caledon farmers “next door” enjoy a lower tax rate than Dufferin farmers.

And that’s indicative of how more can be done to lessen the financial strain on local farmers.

“If you don’t look after the people that produce the food for you, you’re going to squeeze them out,” said Coun. Currie. “Once the horses are gone, don’t bother shutting the door then. It’s too late.”

He said putting Dufferin farmers into a tight financial squeeze may drive some out of the industry. Arable land will go to weeds, he said.

This year’s lowered farm rate will put $35,400 in taxes onto Orangeville ratepayers, while Mono will see $5,390 added and Shelburne $7,800.. 

Coun. Wade Mills, Shelburne’s mayor, said it’s a modest implication on the residential base. And there’s an upside, he said.

“Any money that’s being saved by the farming community at the end of the year, the lion’s share of that is probably going to be coming back to our local economies, in particular Orangeville and Shelburne,” Coun. Mills said.

Coun. Chris Gerrits, Amaranth’s deputy mayor, said the provincial government needs to “look at the system and make sure taxation from the entire province is being used to make up the changes.”

“The taxpayer in all the urban areas within the province are not being asked to contribute anything to this,” Coun. Gerrits said.

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