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Dear Editor

Recently a member of the Grey County Federation of Agriculture sent me a notice that MPAC and Grey County would be increasing rural and farm assessments up to and beyond 71%, over the next 4 years.

In this announcement it was stated:"This increase contemplated currently by Grey County Council sends a negative message and may be the tipping point for the future of many family farms in Grey." So obviously this must employ some use of the Mill Rate proposed by the County, but there is also the purported assessment used by MPAC that needs to be questioned.

To be honest and merely my opinion, MPAC needs to be dissolved and returned to the Municipal level so there is recourse for the private property owner, because I've been told the Assessment Review Board process is way to onerous on property owners.

Having read through the process MPAC has instituted (which may be unlawful) they are not basing the assessment on "fair market value," they are using "replacement value" for barns and out-buildings. It states on MPAC's web-site:

"Farm Outbuildings

We establish the replacement cost of the outbuildings, taking into consideration the design, age, size and quality of construction.

Other Buildings

We value other buildings, such as wineries and stores, according to the cost of replacing them, taking into consideration the building's design, age, size and quality of construction. They are valued and classified according to use (e.g., commercial, industrial, residential)."

Since when is "replacement value" involved with "fair market value"? And is there any such thing as "fair market value," when the province is involved in "market manipulation"? Also, will this "replacement value" eventually be used for all properties? It would seem so considering the statement "They are valued and classified according to use (e.g., commercial, industrial, residential)." These are all questions which need to be asked.

The next questions might be – if the buildings don't need to be replaced - why is the assessed value at a "replacement value"? This is not part of the mandate of MPAC – they are to deal in "fair market value" and not "dreamed up replacement value," aren't they?

This type of assessment is similar to the "best estimates" of the Conservation Authorities for the 100 year flood events, isn't it? And the question begs to be asked...shouldn't both MPAC and the Conservation Authorities be dissolved and put back where they belong – as a municipal responsibility, considering you are paying for redundant entities that use "best estimates" and "replacement values" instead of real information? Something to think about in June (provincial election) and October (municipal elections), isn't it?

Elizabeth F. Marshall,

Candidate, Trillium Party of Ontario,

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound



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