Coun. Keith Hillier, right, announces changes to Pasadena’s taxation methods during Tuesday’s meeting, with Coun. Dave Decker in attendance. Decker called the changes a move in the right direction, as tax pooling and a lower commercial water and sewer rate were voted in.
— Star photo by Paul Hutchings
In the wake of more than 20 complaints from residents, the Town of Pasadena is bringing back a system it once abandoned to help with the vacant lot issue.
Coun. Keith Hillier as finance committee member, announced the town will begin a system of pooling for homeowners with more than one piece of land. That means anyone one deeded piece of land can be combined in the municipal tax forms with another so homeowners do not have to pay the full tax rate on the unused land parcel. It will essentially save the taxpayer the minimum $450 per year land tax rate that was installed late in 2013.
Hillier admitted after Tuesday’s public meeting that the action would mean a loss for the town’s coffers, and that tax pooling is by no means permanent.
“We’re saying this is for 2014, we can’t say what may happen after that,” he said. “We think it’s fair for us to do this for now and we will revisit it later.”
The town had a system of property tax pooling in place up to a few years ago but abandoned it, as did most communities across the province, said Hillier. Through this kind of a system some property owners could see a yearly tax bill of below $100 for the second lot, provided it has not been serviced with water and sewer and it is not in use.
Council also voted to drop the commercial water and sewer tax from six mills to four.
The changes will go into effect almost immediately. All the councillors present voted on the motions, with Coun. Derrick Anthony and Mayor Otto Goulding absent from the meeting.
Families were recently complaining about the tax rates after seeing what they called a 500 per cent increase.
An Ontario family who owns property in Pasadena called the town to complain when they received their tax bill earlier this year, going so far as to calling it “extortion” and “ludicrous.”
Another resident told The Western Star that he feels he is being “taxed out of his land,” after he saw his tax bill at a whopping 1,116 per cent increase over last year. He said he uses the land for planting flowers and vegetables.