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Heritage Tax Relief Program in Selwyn
December 01, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
Following a deputation by Sheryl Smith on the Municipal Heritage Committee, Rob Lamarre, who sits on the Committee, presented Council with a report on the Heritage Tax Relief Program on Tuesday evening (November 28).
Selwyn Township’s Municipal Heritage Committee (MHC) requested that Township Council consider adopting a Heritage Tax Relief Program, and in response, Council passed a resolution on March 8, 2016 directing staff to prepare a draft of the by-law required to implement a Heritage Property Tax Relief (HPTR) program based on the criteria detailed in Manager of Building and Planning, Robert Lamarre’s report; and that a supplementary report which includes the draft by-law and additional HPTR program implementation details be brought forward for Council’s consideration.
According to Lamarre’s report presented to Council on November 28, 2017, since passage of the resolution, staff and the MHC have been working on the program details, which has culminated in the creation of the required By-law and proposed Heritage Preservation and Maintenance Agreement which are now before Council.
Heritage property tax relief is a tool provided to municipalities which is intended to help owners maintain and restore their heritage properties. In addition, the Committee believes that such a program would act as an incentive to owners of heritage properties to seek the designation of their properties under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
The implementation of an HPTR requires the passage of a By-law which, among other things, contains wording which regulates the following:
1) Eligibility Criteria.
2) Amount and form of relief.
3) Application Process.
4) Remedial Action.
According to Lamarre, “If all four of the private properties that are designated took advantage of the HPTR program as proposed, the Township would rebate $2,531.00 of which $1,454.00 is related to the municipal portion of the taxes levied (based on 2017 rates). The difference is the education portion of the taxes levied which is funded by the Province. These funds are recouped by the Township by reducing the appropriate amount from the remittances made to the School Boards.
The Manager of Financial Services/Treasurer has discussed the proposed program with County staff and has asked them to consider adopting a similar tax relief incentive which would result in a rebate of the portion of taxes levied by the County of Peterborough. Lamarre noted that this would further enhance the program resulting in additional incentive to maintain existing designated properties and attract other heritage property owners to consider designation. If the County adopted the program, the available rebate would total $3,614.00.
As this is an optional tax relief program, the Township would have to fund any refunds through a general municipal levy increase.
Council unanimously approved a By-law to implement a Heritage Tax Refund Program