SANDRA M STANWAY
While the province hires staff and generally gets ready to take over assessments of designated industrial properties in municipalities, the county did agree to complete the work and submit the information.
Layne Johnson, the county’s director of corporate services, told council the province made the request to all municipalities to continue doing the assessments for a period of time.
“Over the next five years they want municipalities to continue to gather the information until they have the capacity to be doing all of this themselves. A number (1,800) of sites in the county would fall under this classification,” he said.
The county will enter into a contract with municipal affairs to accept the responsibility to continue to gather the information with financial compensation.
Benchmark Assessments does the county’s assessments at the current rate of $15.50 per parcel. The proposed rate is $60 per parcel. The county will retain $20 and is expected to be revenue neutral under the contract with the province.
“I don’t see there are any significant concerns that this arrangement presents,” said Johnson.
He reported some larger municipalities are taking the position that the province should assume full responsibility. He said they could play “hard ball” but wondered what that will accomplish.
“That would sort of go against our cooperation and collaborative approach. Wouldn’t it?” said reeve Molly Douglass.
“It certainly isn’t going to be a hardship to enter into this arrangement,” Johnson said.
Douglass suggested the issue is added to their agenda when meeting with the provincial minister of municipal affairs in the spring during the AAMDC agenda.