Grey County hopes updated property tax relief helps seniors with low incomes

·2 min read

Grey County is making sure more people will be helped by a program for seniors and those living with disabilities.

It’s focused on those who are low-income homeowners faced with property tax increases.

County council on Mar. 25 unanimously approved the updating of the program which was about 20 years old, and referenced an outdated version of the Municipal Act.

The original idea came from the province, which mandated the help for special groups who faced financial hardship from tax increases.

The program will now cancel the tax increase completely for those applicants who qualify, up to a limit of $500.

Before the reform, the county would put a lien on people’s homes and collected the tax increase when the house was sold. The benefit only kicked in if the tax increase was at least $500.

The limitations of that version of the program were reflected in the answer to the question of what will be done for those who already have had their tax increase deferred. The treasurer replied that he was not aware of any such properties.

The tax relief applications will be available through the lower tier municipalities.

County Councillor Aakash Desai of Grey Highlands made the motion.

County Councillor Brian Milne said, “I wholeheartedly agree with your recommendations.”

Desai and County Councillor Soever questioned whether there needed to be a maximum of $500.

County treasurer Kevin Weppler said that in a sample calculation, a 10 percent tax increase at all levels would be needed to get to a $465

The staff pointed out that the lien on the property under the previous policy could mean the taxpayer couldn’t borrow money against their home.

The group of lower-tier municipal treasurers endorsed cancelling rather than deferring the increase. Since deferrals have to be tracked over time it would add to program cost for administration.

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