Quarries are about to get a different tax category if the Mayor gets her way - and on this one she is probably going to get her way

By Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Who knew?  It wasn’t until we saw the note on what the Mayor had done at the AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) conference that we learned quarries are taxed as farms.

The tax rate for farms is very low.  Not sure if there is a tax rate for quarries.

Bringing home the bacon for the citizens of the city. Wants to change the tax category for the quarries – currently taxed as farms

The mayor represents Burlington on TAPMO (Top Aggregate Producing Municipalities of Ontario) given our city has two active quarries: Nelson and Aldershot.

TAPMO represents local Municipalities across Ontario, including Halton Region, that have significant reserves and annual production of aggregate, stone and sand materials. Their membership shares the perspective that local municipalities have a vital role to play in ensuring a sustainable aggregate industry for Ontario.

In addition, TAPMO members believe the aggregate industry should pay their fair share of municipal property taxes and be classed as profitable businesses rather than as farm.

Does this look like a farm? Its tax classification has it down as a farm. How long has that been going on? And how did the quarries get it in the first place?

The current farm classification has cost municipalities millions of dollars in lost revenue, for which taxpayers have picked up the tax, effectively resulting in Burlington taxpayers subsidizing the aggregate industry.

At our January board meeting, TAPMO approved hiring Upstream Strategy Group to conduct their advocacy strategy and initiative with the Provincial Government to correct the tax classification.

Individual meetings are also being arranged between Upstream, the mayor and MPPs in each of the aggregate- producing municipalities. Our meeting for Burlington is currently being scheduled. TAPMO is requesting financial support from member municipalities in 2021 for this advocacy work.

There are three shale quarries in Aldershot – they have been taxed as farms – Mayor wants to see that changed.

Halton Regional Council has already supported this priority and directed staff to contribute to this advocacy effort through the approval of the contribution of $2,100 from the Council-approved operating budget to TAPMO.

The Jefferson salamander, native to the northern part of the city.

The Regional resolution requested  Halton municipalities to also independently support the advocacy work around the  change in tax classification, so the mayor will work with the two Councillors (Bentivegna and Nisan) who represent rural Burlington to bring something forward in early fall, including, if applicable, a funding request.

The quarries can look forward to a financial squeeze.

Perhaps they will argue that the land is a breeding ground for the Jefferson Salamander and the habitat could be classified as a farm – maybe?

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3 comments to Quarries are about to get a different tax category if the Mayor gets her way – and on this one she is probably going to get her way

  • Why has it taken this long for the public to be informed of tne farm taxation level. Surely farmers and joe public alike would have objected. Whoever gave quarries a farm label cleatly do not understand what a farm is – ludicrous!

  • Bob

    “the current farm classification has cost municipalities millions of dollars in lost revenue, for which taxpayers have picked up the tax, effectively resulting in Burlington taxpayers subsidizing the aggregate industry”

    The current classification has cost municipalities no lost revenue because the were taxed at the proper tax rate, so there could be no subsidization of the aggregate industry. What we have is an unfair tax system, but you can only realize a loss on something that you had.

  • Hans Jacobs

    Obviously quarries are NOT farms; they would have more in common with oil wells or tar sands.
    It would be interesting to know who at Queen’s Park signed off on that designation?

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