County gravel pit operators owe millions in back taxes

WELLINGTON COUNTY — Fifty local gravel pits owe millions of dollars in back taxes after an appeal by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and local gravel pit owners was rejected.

The appeal of the previous assessment of the gravel pit properties was denied, upholding the previous decision by the Assessment Review Board, said County of Wellington treasurer Ken DeHart.

The combined back taxes owed by all 50 local gravel pits will be in the low millions of dollars, DeHart confirmed.

The decision has yet to be implemented.

“On Feb. 3, 2023 the Divisional Court released their decision on MPAC and the gravel owner’s appeal. The Divisional Court ruled in the County’s favour. They upheld the ARB’s decision, dismissed the appeal and awarded costs to the County ($15K),” DeHart wrote in an email.

“MPAC and the gravel pit owners appealed the Assessment Review Board’s (ARB) decision (from 2021) to the Ontario Divisional Court,” DeHart wrote.

MPAC and the owners had appealed the decision on the property value of gravel pits.

Those properties were valued at $9,200 per acre and the board’s decision changed that to $15,080 per acre.

The board ordered the six aggregate operations, acting as representatives of the local industry, be reassessed from 2017 to 2020.

“Since MPAC and the gravel owners appealed the Assessment Review Board’s decision – MPAC has yet to implement the decision of the ARB,” DeHart wrote.

“The appeal now spans from 2017 to 2023 inclusive. Once MPAC implements the decision of the ARB, gravel pit owners in Puslinch, Erin and Guelph/Eramosa will owe back taxes to the municipalities (County and lower-tier) dating back to 2017,” DeHart wrote.

Gravel pits in other local municipalities may be responsible to pay taxes at a higher rate also.

“The County also appealed the remaining gravel pits in the remaining municipalities (Centre Wellington, Mapleton, Minto, Wellington North) subsequent to the ARB’s ruling for the 2021 taxation years moving forward,” DeHart wrote.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,