Council notes: Greater Napanee council sets rural taxation policy

Adam Prudhomme

Greater Napanee’s rural ratepayers will see a nine per cent ‘discount’ rate on policing costs compared to urban ratepayers following a motion passed at the March 10 council meeting.

The motion was worded as follows: “That Council accept the proposal from Axel Thesberg outlined in correspondence received at the special session of council on Dec. 9, 2019 to end the five year phase in of Method 4 from the Watson report in 2019, which would result in a rural discount rate for policing costs of 9 per cent, which is 5.5 per cent over the 3.5 per cent for the area rating of sidewalks, streetlights and fire response; And further that this decision be reviewed during the next term of council.”

Though the difference in urban and rural tax rates has been a long-standing issue within the municipality, it was most recently brought to the forefront by councillor John McCormack during a meeting in January of this year. 

“When I was campaigning in a fully rural community, the biggest issue people had was the difference in taxation,” McCormack, who represents Ward 1, said at the meeting in January. “The (32 per cent) discount had been removed and the way the rural community see it is that they didn’t get anything in return.”

As such, he put forward the motion that council “accept (Greater Napanee Taxation Policy Review Committee member) Axel Thesberg’s proposal that we cut it off at nine per cent which we are at right now rather than going to the fifth year. Some of the reasons for this is there are a lot of items that everybody’s paying for but not everybody gets the advantage of, the CCTVs, the Big Bright Light Show, free wi-fi. This is $60,000-$70,000 a year combined.”

The motion was tabled at that January meeting before being passed at the March 10 meeting. 

-Also at the meeting council approved the sale of approximately 16 acres of town owned land, the former Heritage Park Subdivision, for $1.15 million to James Selkirk Custom Homes Ltd. The closing date is April 1 and the project will be known as the Millhouse Yards Subdivision.

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