Why is South Glen­garry so ex­pen­sive?

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - The News, News The Glen­garry

Open Let­ter to South Glen­garry Cit­i­zens: In the May 22 edi­tion of (Let­ters, ‘Hikes un­der­line need for in­quiry,’) we looked at the “whole farm” tax bill with three prop­er­ties all lumped to­gether, over a 25-year pe­riod.

This time, we’ll fo­cus a bit, and look at only one roll number, from amal­ga­ma­tion to the present day. Although our farm does have more than 100 acres of wooded land, this 250-acreage has no forest; it’s been 100% clear, sys­tem­at­i­cally drained crop­land since the late 1960s, with the ex­cep­tion of some wee bits that are used for houses, barns, grain bins, stone piles, laneways and such.

It is com­prised of lots 15, 14 and the west 1⁄2 of 13 (1st con­ces­sion), and is sev­ered by his­tor­i­cal ex­pro­pri­a­tions for the Grand Trunk (CN) Rail­road and The Cedar Rapids Trans­mis­sion Co. to the north, and the Trans-Canada Cor­ri­dor (Old High­way 2 and MacDon­ald-Cartier Free­way) to the south. So, once again, very lit­tle has changed on this prop­erty since long be­fore amal­ga­ma­tion in 1998.

Although the final tax bill for 2019 has not yet been re­ceived, I have in­cluded the in­for­ma­tion from the 2019 in­terim tax bill, which rarely dif­fers from the final amounts. The chart shows a star­tling 10 per cent year-over-year av­er­age growth in farm­land tax­a­tion since amal­ga­ma­tion in 1998.

One can ob­serve that the solid red lines (an­nual farm­land tax bill [right axis] and farm­land as­sess­ment [left axis]) have been in­creas­ing in lock­step at sig­nif­i­cant ex­po­nen­tial rates. I’ve also plot­ted a cou­ple of in­fla­tion rates (lower dashed lines) to demon­strate how taxes might have risen on this farm­land, if lim­ited to the 1.9 per cent gen­eral rate of in­fla­tion (source: Bank of Canada on­line in­fla­tion cal­cu­la­tor for 1998 to 2019) or even a more gen­er­ous rate of per cent.

This in­fers that our mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments (lower tier and up­per tier) have failed to do their duty of mak­ing nec­es­sary ad­just­ments to their tax rates on farm­land in or­der to con­trol tax­a­tion at mod­est growth lev­els. They have sim­ply en­joyed the wind­fall of rev­enue re­sult­ing from the Mu­nic­i­pal Prop­erty As­sess­ment Cor­po­ra­tion’s rapid up­ward ad­just­ments to farm­land value as­sess­ments.

Also plot­ted on the left axis (solid blue line), are the to­tal tax rev­enues for the Town­ship of South Glen­garry since amal­ga­ma­tion, which have risen at an av­er­age rate of 5.9743 per cent year over year from $2.737M to $9.258M (pro­jected for 2019).

A curious fel­low might ask him­self, “Why has it be­come so much more ex­pen­sive to ex­e­cute the man­age­ment and main­te­nance of our South Glen­garry mu­nic­i­pal­ity, rel­a­tive to that of pri­vate en­ter­prise and the broader econ­omy?”

Thanks to Lach­lan McDon­ald of the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of South Glen­garry for pro­vid­ing the Town­ship rev­enue data. Thanks also to and its sub­scribers for their con­tin­ued in­ter­est.

Shawn McRae, McRae Farms Ltd., Bainsville

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