(Blackburnnews.com file photo.)

Huron County Asked To Hold The Line On Farm Tax

A member of the board of Huron County’s Federation of Agriculture has asked county council to consider a reduction in the ratio in farm property tax over the next few years.

Rob Vanden Hengel argued that historically the tax ratio of the county budget in recent years has been around 10% to 11%. But in 2016 it had increased to 14% and by 2020 it’s projected to hit 21%.

He says that’s a huge increase in the amount farmers are being asked to pay, and the federation is asking that the ratio remain the same.

While most councillors were sympathetic, some also suggested the increase is a result of the rising value of farmland and should be taken up with MPAC rather than the county.

Vanden Hengel countered that the increase in land value only benefits a farmer who’s selling his land.

Several councillors also suggested that if they reduce the amount paid by farmers, that amount has to be found from other taxpayers or the county has to reduce the services it provides.

But Vanden Hengel says all they’re asking is that the ratio of the budget for farmland remains the same.

Council suggested the fight was with the province and they would support the farmers in that battle but there isn’t much that can be done at the county level.

“In the next four years the amount that farmland itself is paying as proportionate to the county budget is projected to go from 14% to 21%,” says Vanden Hengel. “So that’s a huge increase in the amount of money that farmland is gonna being paying towards the county budget as a whole.”