No takers: Taxpayers lose $200,000
South Glengarry council has opted to vest the property on which a one-time proposed residential subdivision was to have been built after receiving no public offers for the land.
The property, located northeast of Lancaster Heights, was listed for sale on July 12, with a minimum tender price of $212,851.25 – the outstanding balance, including taxes, interest and registration fees – owing on the account.
However, the closing date of August 9 arrived without any bids being received.
“We advertised it in the local newspapers for four weeks, in the Ontario Gazette, on the Ontario Tax Sales website, and on our website,” township treasurer Mike Samson told council August 21.
“There were, I understand, 24 interested parties that applied for tender forms, but unfortunately, none of them came back.”
With the property failing to change hands, Mr. Samson explained that the municipality had two options to consider.
“If we leave it as it is, the property will continue to accrue taxes, and undoubtedly, in a few years, we’ll have to do this all over again, and it will just cost that much more,” he said.
“If we vest it to the township, it becomes exempt, non-taxable. We can write off the taxes back to the Counties, the school boards and the township.”
Mr. Samson added that there would have been a major drawback to that option, pointing out that the municipality would “still suffer a loss on the property, including the township share of the taxes, the accrued interest and the registration fees.”
With practically no deliberation, council chose the vesting route.
The tax write-off is broken down as follows: $45,739 to the Counties of Stormont-DundasGlengarry; $39,773 to the township; and $13,920 to the four boards of education.
The municipality is also responsible for
$101,017 in interest charges, and $11,298 in registration fees.
As discussion on the matter concluded, Mr. Samson indicated that council now had another possibility to consider.
“Once the (vesting) process is done, in a week to 10 days, you have the choice, as a council, to put the property up for sale again at whatever price you deem is reasonable,” he stated. “That would be something that would need to be reviewed.”
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued draft plan approval for the proposed 75-lot Lancaster Estates Subdivision back in 1996.
But development of the property was impeded by a number of problems over the ensuing two decades and the project never came to fruition.