combine 0 270Grey County farmers will see a reduction in their taxes in 2019. County Council approved dropping the farm tax ratio by 1%. The decision was made during Committee of the Whole on April 11 as part of the annual Tax Policy report. The change will apply to both the County and local municipal tax ratios.

Agriculture is a valuable pillar in Grey County’s economy and part of the fabric of our rural community,” said Grey County Warden Selwyn Hicks. “Today’s decision shows council’s commitment to farmers by giving them more stability on their tax bills.”

The decision to change the farm tax ratio follows a March 28 deputation from the Grey County Federation of Agriculture asking council to consider lowering the ratio. The 2016 assessed value of farms in Grey County phased in an increase of about 70% over four years. By comparison, residential values increased by about 5%, shifting a larger portion of the municipal property tax levy to farm owners.

Lowering the farm tax ratio from 25% of the residential rate to 24% will save the 7,679 farm properties about $90,000 of the County levy. This amount will be shifted to the other tax classes with the residential class paying around $77,000.

Many property values in Grey County are increasing, but that doesn’t mean municipalities are collecting more taxes. Assessment changes only impact the share of the total levy paid by a property owner. Municipalities determine how much tax needs to be collected to deliver services during the budgeting process. In 2019 Grey County will collect $56.2 million.

Council also decided to invite a representative from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) to a future council meeting to discuss challenges of quickly increasing property values.