(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Huron County farmers want to see a lower tax ratio

Huron County farmers want to see a lower tax rate from the county.

Senior Farm Policy Analyst Ben Lefort, speaking to Huron County Council on behalf of the local federation of agriculture, said recent increases in the taxable assessment of farm properties have resulted in tax increases since 2012.

“They are paying a higher portion of the tax levy than they ever have,” said Lefort. “And what we’re requesting is a change in the ratio to maintain the current record amount of taxes collected from farmers and not set a new record in 2019 and 2020 and beyond.”

Lefort suggested Huron County reduce the farm tax ratio from 0.25 to 0.223.

“In Ontario, more than any other province, the market value of farmland has well out-paced what I call the farm value of farmland. There’s a huge disconnect between the commodity prices and the value of farmland,” added Lefort.

Lefort said if residential values increase substantially in the next assessment cycle that would address the problem.

“But we know, without a doubt, in 2019 and 2020, if council chooses not to act, we’re going to continue to see 10 to 15 increases in farm tax. So, I hope that in the future we don’t need to do this, but in the short term, it is necessary,” said Lefort.

Council referred the request to its budget committee.