Land owners in Pasadena upset over tax increase

Cory Hurley
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A nearly 25-acre lot in Pasadena has been passed down through the Butler family for three generations.

Ches received the Midland Row property from his father as a wedding gift about 46 years ago. Ontario residents now, he and his wife Doris planned to put a cabin or a trailer on the unserviced lot after they retire. Eventually, it would be passed along to the fourth generation.

The Butler families didn’t consider it a problem to pay the annual tax — most recently at $200 — for the land, which was once home to cattle, pigs and rows of vegetable gardens.

This year, however, the bill came in at more than $1,100.

The Butlers called the Town of Pasadena, thinking it was a mistake, but were shocked that it was a new tax implemented in this year’s budget. The minimum for a vacant lot is now $450, and $45 per acre for every acre over 10.

Doris referred to it as extortion, and said the amount is ludicrous. The property has a lot of personal meaning for Ches, and contains many happy memories.

“We were so upset,” he said. “We are just not going to give it away.”

The increase of more than 500 per cent is unacceptable to the couple, who wrote a letter of objection to the town.

The couple is considering legal avenues if a resolution cannot be reached.

“On the face of it, this tax appears to be arbitrary and disproportionately unfair to a small minority of taxpayers,” Doris said.

Glynn Vincent, who owns the adjacent property to the Butlers, also thought it was a mistake when he received his bill. He paid $200 for two pieces of land at nearly 50 acres.

Vincent received a bill totalling $2,232 — an 1,116 per cent increase — in early January. He too contacted the town. He said he was told the tax was implemented to promote development. He is confused by the response.

He contacted around 20 municipalities across the province and said Pasadena had gone above and beyond all others with this tax hike. The taxes on vacant land elsewhere ranged from $20 to $500, according to Vincent, with some having an amount depending on the mill rate and assessed value.

He once farmed the land, but now likes to spend time there in the summers planting vegetables and growing flowers.

“They are taxing me out of my land,” he said. “It is unacceptable.”

Vincent is also considering his options before paying the total amount.

Pasadena Mayor Otto Goulding said the change was implemented after council reviewed its tax structure. He said they have received a number of complaints and concerns.

“As with any tax increase, people are not happy with paying more,” he said.

Council is reviewing the change, and has until March 31 to amend any new budget items, the mayor said. He would not comment on whether it was expected to change or remain the same.

Geographic location: Pasadena, Ontario

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Recent comments

  • Pasadena Tax Payer
    February 28, 2014 - 07:40

    Put the 500% increase aside, tax should be applicable to the value of the property. Residents sitting on a single 75 x 150 building lot are paying the same as the guy sitting on 40 acres. The land is not farm land. You cannot grow 2 sacks of patatoes and a few flowers each year and expect an agricultural Classification to stick for long.

  • Crazy
    February 27, 2014 - 17:29

    They are trying to tell you, we WANTED your land. pay up, or get out...but in the end, your land will be my land.

  • Darren
    February 27, 2014 - 15:31

    Tried a new development last year. According to council it was all last min it got turned down. Couldn't even get a response from town manage nor would he return calls.

  • Information-Based
    February 27, 2014 - 12:41

    Hopefully the new council isn't so dumb and short-sighted as to think Pasadena is somehow well-served by "developing" more of the best farmland / greenspace in the province (and in a hurry, at that, given the massive tax rate increase on vacant land) into crappy, faceless subdivisions.

  • wtf
    February 27, 2014 - 10:30

    I think most communities charge lower tax rates for farmland but it sounds like Pasadena no longer considers these lands as farms but residential.

  • Jim Rideout
    February 27, 2014 - 07:37

    500 % Increase in taxes - I don't think North Korea would do something that drastic!! I thought Pasadena WAS a nice town but it seems that those in power also get greedy. Please don't ruin the good reputation that our Town has. town has