By Tom Collins
CREEMORE A Jersey dairy farmer who had part of his property taxes switched to industrial from agricultural after building a processing plant wants to change the tax designation.
In November, John Miller of Millers Dairy in Creemore, about 45 minutes west of Barrie, received a bill for $37,000 in back taxes from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). His new 6,000-sq.-ft. facility is now considered industrial and that means he owes about $16,000 a year in property taxes, not the $2,000 owed if the plant were deemed agricultural.
Ontario regulations (282/98 Section 6, subsection 1) state that property would be classified as industrial if it were used for or in connection with “manufacturing, producing or processing anything.” It doesnt matter what classification the property was prior to the change.
Miller plans to appeal MPACs decision to an independent arbitrator, but first wants to see if he can get the system changed. Miller wants the province to create a special designation for on-farm milk processing. He and his MPP Jim Wilson, interim leader of the provincial PC party, have requested a meeting with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne.
“It has to be fixed politically,” says Miller. “We decided to go right to the top. Well see what happens.”