Why is South Glengarry so expensive?
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