Federation of Agriculture Calls for More Funding for Mapleton Infrastructure and Reduced Farm Tax Rates
âWe are trying to advocate for the use of farm tax revenues for municipal partnership dollars to meet infrastructure needs in Mapleton,â the WFA president said.
MAPLETON – Farmland and forests generate more revenue for the municipality than it costs to service them, according to a study of the cost of community services conducted by the Wellington Federation of Agriculture (WFA), in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA).
âWhat the Cost of Community Services study showed is that for every dollar of farm property tax revenue, it costs the municipality 34 cents to provide these services,â said Janet Harrop, president of WFA , on the phone.
âWe are trying to advocate for the use of farm tax revenues for municipal partnership dollars to meet Mapleton’s infrastructure needs, such as its bridge and road projects. So we want to reduce tax rates on farmland and receive more funding from the Farmland generates more revenue for the municipality than it costs to service it.
By comparing, the study shows municipal spending of 80 cents for every dollar collected from residential taxes and 79 cents for every dollar collected from commercial or industrial taxes.
The WFA study examines the farmland and taxes the land brings to the local government and the type of services the municipality can provide by using farmland taxes for the agricultural tax class.
The WFA and OFA wanted to show the province which municipal services the provincial government should download or provide additional funding to rural municipalities using its farm taxes.
Harrop explained that Mapleton’s main request for additional funding is for infrastructure.
“The reason we’re advocating for this study to be done in Mapleton is because Mapleton is the biggest economic driver of agriculture in Wellington County,” Harrop said.
âThey have the largest percentage of farms in the county and they also have two fairly small urban centers. From a tax revenue perspective, Mapleton has a real infrastructure deficit. The municipality is at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving funds from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Funds Transfer because the township has additional farmland that it cannot use to repair or build roads and bridges .
Harrop noted that COCS studies have been described as âsnapshots in timeâ of each land use fiscal impact on a municipality in a given year. Thus, they should not be used as a statement of land tax impacts for future years.
According to the COCS, the province must address the inequity in funding the provincial gas tax, explaining that the provincial gas tax rate is based on public transit. So if municipalities don’t have public transit, they don’t get funding. This prevents rural municipalities from obtaining funding from the provincial gas tax rate.
“In 2019, rural municipalities received less than 1% of the $365 million in provincial gas tax funding,” the study said.
âMeanwhile, rural municipalities received approximately 7% of the $1.6 billion in 2019 federal gas tax funding paid to Ontario municipalities due to broader eligibility criteria. Mapleton received zero in provincial gas tax funding and $637,509 in federal gas tax funding that year.
The OFA and WFA also want the province to increase its Ontario Municipal Partnership (OMPF) funding by 75 per cent to provide the same level of support as in 2005.
In 2005, the OMPF funded provincial rural municipalities with annual funding of $656 million. By 2021, funding has been reduced to $500 million.
Mapleton received $1,215,495 in OMPF funding in 2005, but only received $837,400 in 2019.
âWe look forward to working with rural municipalities alongside the OFA to ensure adequate funding to rural communities for community services,â said Harrop.
She also noted that the WFA and the Mapleton Council will work together to advocate for additional funding and study results. They are also working together to delegate to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in August.