Image above: Northumberland County is hosting a Public Information Centre to seek feedback about the current Vacant Unit Property Tax Rebate program. The public event is happening, Wednesday, March 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Northumberland County building, 555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg. Northumberland County photo
Northumberland County to Host a Public Information Centre for Feedback
The survey period will close March 30
Article by Sue Dickens
Northumberland – Northumberland County is hosting a Public Information Centre to seek feedback about the current Vacant Unit Property Tax Rebate program.
The public event is happening, Wednesday, March 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Northumberland County building, 555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg.
For Cramahe it affects the tax rebate that in 2016 was: $20,048.80.
“The (Northumberland) County and member municipalities are reviewing the implications of eliminating the Property Tax Rebate Program for Vacant Units as part of efforts to better encourage use of such properties for the benefit of the community,” says County Finance Director and Treasurer Glenn Dees.
“We are seeking input from business owners and members of the general public about their experience and thoughts related to this program in order to inform a final decision.”
Currently, building owners can apply for an annual property tax rebate of 35 per cent for vacant industrial space and 30 per cent for vacant commercial space
People are invited to share their thoughts about the tax rebate program for vacant commercial and industrial properties.
The cost and number of rebates by municipality is summarized here. Also on Northumberland County website.
Looking at the statistics provided on the Northumberland County website: Cobourg had the largest tax rebate in 2016 of $324,969.01; Port Hope was next with a tax rebate to commercial and industrial building owners in 2016 of 84,893.66. Cramahe’s tax rebate was: $20,048.80; Brighton’s was $8,288.61; Trent Hills was near the bottom of the list with a tax rebate of $6,082.67.
This rebate program was originally established by the Province to compensate property owners for tax increases resulting from property tax reform in 1998. Since then, property assessment methods adopted by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) – whose assessments form the basis for property taxation—have, to a large extent, essentially resolved this issue. This is also not a benefit which is afforded to other property classes such as residential or multi-residential properties, which may experience a similar form of vacancy from time-to-time.
Recouping the cost of program rebates results in increased property taxation to Northumberland’s other tax classes—primarily residential—with the combined upper-and lower-tier municipal impact totaling $269,208 in 2016. Considering this, along with the concern that this program may in fact discourage property development, hindering economic/community growth and development goals, local municipalities are evaluating opting-out of—or phasing out—this program.
THE PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRE:
There will be a 20-minute presentation at 5:30 p.m. by the County treasurer about the background on this program and the reasons for change.
The public will be able to connect directly with experts and treasurers from various local municipalities and the County.
For those unable to attend the Public Information Centre, feedback may be provided through an online survey, which was made available as of March 7 at www.NorthumberlandCounty.ca/VacancyRebate.
The survey period will close March 30.