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Major Grey County road projects to begin Monday

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Some major road reconstruction projects are about to get rolling in Grey County.

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Beginning on Monday, work will begin on the first of more than $17 million in planned county road improvements for this year, with a project to rehabilitate Grey roads 16, 3 and 5.

That includes work on Grey Road 16 from the Grey-Bruce Line to just west of Keady, Grey Road 3 from just north of Keady to Grey Road 5 East, and a 720-metre stretch of Grey Road 5 west from the intersection with Grey Road 10. The work is expected to run until June 30.

Other significant projects this summer include the rehabilitation of Grey roads 17 in Georgian Bluffs, Grey Road 40 in the Township of Chatsworth and the beginning of intersection upgrades at Grey roads 19 and 21 in The Blue Mountains.

Some of the projects require road closures, lane closures and traffic delays and motorists are being asked to plan their route well in advance to give them extra time to safely reach their destination.

Full details on the county’s planned road projects can be found at www.grey.ca/roads.

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Grey County has moved to eliminate commercial and industrial property subclass discounts.

On Thursday during its committee of the whole meeting, county councillors passed a motion to eliminate the discounts and approve corresponding tax ratio reductions to the commercial and industrial classes to maintain balance in the county’s tax classes. The move, which affects how the county apportions the county tax burden by property class as well as between the nine local municipalities, comes into effect for the 2021 taxation year.

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Director of Finance and Treasurer Kevin Weppler said Thursday that the change was one that treasurers at the lower-tier municipalities were in favour of.

“The treasurers would like to see us get rid of that vacant and excess discount. They feel those values of those properties are low already based on their being vacant or excess,” Weppler said. “They felt this was an opportune time to go forward with this as other counties have done.”

Weppler said the recommendation was made to eliminate the subclass discounts to promote equity amongst taxpayers who do not receive special discounts, to encourage landlords to best utilize their properties to encourage infill development and to discourage speculative holdings of land.

In a report to council on Thursday, Weppler explained that there are a number of subclasses and subclass discounts applying to different property types.

The properties in the vacant subclass don’t have any assessible improvements such as buildings on them, while the excess land subclass captures a portion of a property that may be used as a buffer to the industrial or commercial use on the property.

In 2020, the county’s rates used were a 30 per cent discount for commercial vacant and excess land, and a 35 per cent discount for industrial vacant and excess land.

Weppler explained that the tax increase for excess and vacant commercial and industrial properties seems large, but the properties affected have very low assessment values and the dollar value and tax implication is very small. County-wide a total of 115 properties are impacted, and of those the average commercial property will see a $287 tax increase, while the average industrial property will see a $269 increase. But at the same time, properties with excess land portions would see a significant tax decrease due to incoming provincial education tax changes.

In 2020 the province enacted a reduction in business education tax rates provincewide, which translates into a rate reduction over 2020 rates of approximately 30 per cent for any rate at the previous maximum and just over 10 per cent for new construction rates.

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