Details of Grey County program for property tax relief for low-income seniors

·2 min read

Grey County council on Mar. 25 unanimously approved the updating of its property tax relief program for low-income seniors and people with disabilites. The previous program was so restrictive it ended up not being used. Now, applicants can apply to have amounts of increases cancelled, not deferred. Here are the details.

WHO QUALIFIES?

-Property-owners or their spouses facing increased property tax who are

1. Seniors receiving GIS supplement or

2. People with disabilities who receive ODSP

The program doesn’t apply when the house value goes up because of renovations.

WHAT IT MEANS

-rises in municipal property tax and education tax of up to $500 will qualify for help

-the eligible amount will be cancelled

- people can apply through the lower municipality

PROBLEMS WITH PREVIOUS PROGRAM

-only increases that were more than $500 were eligible

-a lien was registered against the applicant’s home, and the amount of the relief was collected when the property was sold.

IN THE FUTURE

- Some other counties such as Wellington and Dufferin, provide a minimum rebate, for example of $200, as well as cancelling the increase to provide more relief. If the levy rose two percent for example, the program would mean less than $100 relief in 2021 in Grey County for an average home.

- Staff recommended waiting before considering expanding the program. Both the numbers who apply and the financial impact can be tracked.

POSSIBLE COST

- While staff said it’s hard to know how many will take advantage.

In Wellington in 2018, 105 applications were approved (almost all from seniors – 12 for disability relief). The cost was about $21,000 in Wellington at all levels – local, county and education, but it has a minimum $200 rebate, unlike Grey.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald