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Speak Up, Oxford!

Vacant Unit Tax Rebate Reform
May 11, 2017
Vacant Unit Tax Rebate Reform

Rebate program for vacant units proposed to be phased out over the next three years


Update (June 15, 2017): This campaign has now ended. All comments received will be included in a report to County Council on June 28, 2017.

Oxford County is considering a change to the existing commercial and industrial vacant unit tax rebate program. Under the proposal, the vacant unit tax rebate program would be phased-out over a three year period, beginning in 2018.

The vacant unit rebate would be eliminated over the current four-year property assessment cycle to allow affected property owners to manage the rebate reduction into future budgets.

Proposed timetable for rebate elimination:

Rebate reduction table over the next four years
 

The intent of this policy change is to incent use of vacant properties that could either be sold and put into active use, or rented by lowering fees and/or mixed with multi-use rentals including residential which would result in more vibrant and sustainable communities – a common goal shared among municipalities and the province.

There are no proposed changes to the 30-35% sub-class discounts for commercial and industrial property tax classes (vacant/excess lands) respectively due to the economic development competitive advantage for our region and the fact that these vacant/excess lands impose less demand on municipal service levels.


Background

As part of the 2016 Fall Economic Statement, the provincial Minister of Finance announced several tax policy amendments for 2017. One of the amendments allows municipalities to initiate a locally designed vacant unit and vacant/excess land subclasses program, subject to Ministerial approval. The Province is allowing municipalities to design their own policies to address local issues.

This new legislation allows municipalities to consider changes with respect to:

  • percentage reductions for vacant and excess land;
  • percentages used for vacant unit rebates;
  • administrative policies, application procedures and information requirements;
  • enhanced and refined eligibility requirements; and
  • elimination of a program.

Based on Council direction received on March 22, 2017, County and Area Municipal Finance staff are seeking comments from the business community with respect to a proposed change to the vacant rebate policy. Oxford County is also seeking comments from the Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) and Chambers of Commerce in the County.

For more information, read council report CS 2017-12 from the May 10, 2017 meeting or contact any of the following:

Lynn Buchner | Director of Corporate Services | County of Oxford

519.539.0015, ext. 3007 | lbuchner@oxfordcounty.ca


Denise Krug | Director of Finance | Township of Blandford-Blenheim

519.463.5347, ext. 224 | dkrug@blandfordblenheim.ca


Sean Hilderley | Finance Manager/Treasurer | Township of East Zorra-Tavistock

519.462.2697, ext. 259 | shilderley@ezt.ca


Iryna Koval | Director of Finance | Town of Ingersoll

519.485.0120, ext 2227 | iryna.koval@ingersoll.ca


Michael Legge | Director of Finance/Treasurer | Township of Norwich

519.468.2410, ext. 233 | mlegge@norwich.ca


Diane Larder | Treasurer | Township of South-West Oxford

519.485.0477, ext. 224 | dlarder@swox.org


David Rushton | Director of Finance/Treasurer | Town of Tillsonburg

519.688.3009, ext. 3251 | drushton@tillsonburg.ca


Patrice Hilderley | Treasurer & Director of Administrative Services | City of Woodstock

519.539.2382, ext. 2300 | philderley@cityofwoodstock.ca


Maureen Simmons | Director of Finance| Township of Zorra

519.485.2490, ext. 225 | msimmons@zorra.on.ca


Submit a comment

Oxford County is receiving comments on the proposed changes until June 15, 2017.

All comments received by the deadline will form part of a staff report to Council on June 28, 2017. At that meeting, Council will give final consideration to a locally designed vacant rebate policy for a submission to the Minister by the July 1, 2017 deadline.

Provide your comment online or send written comments by June 15, 2017 to:

County of Oxford
P.O. Box 1614, 21 Reeve Street
Woodstock, ON N4S 7Y3