OFA firmly believes that growth must pay for growth. The capital infrastructure costs required to service new development should be paid for by developers and not the current base of property taxpayers. OFA opposes the proposed changes to the Development Charges Act which would shift the financial burden of paying for growth-related capital costs from developers to property taxpayers.
The cost of development charge background studies could be lowered by providing a statutory exemption from development charges for farm buildings. OFA has long advocated for a statutory exemption for farm buildings from development charges since farm structures like barns do not contribute to growth related capital expenditures in the same way as other development. For example, building a livestock manure storage structure on an existing livestock farm operation would not result in a need for additional municipal infrastructure. Most municipalities in agricultural areas do recognize that assessing development charges on farm buildings is inappropriate and have chosen to provide an exemption in their municipal development charge by-law. A province-wide statutory exemption would eliminate the need for a consultant’s time to determine a development charge rate for farm buildings in the background studies.
Additional strain on municipal budgets and the subsequent pressure to increase property taxes is of great concern to the farm community. In the last province wide assessment MPAC provided, farmland values increased at a disproportionate rate and farmers in many municipalities across the province are paying a record high percentage of the municipal tax levy.
If the provincial government moves forward with these proposed changes to the Development Charges Act move forward, OFA believes the provincial government must commit to significant new funding for municipal infrastructure to avoid negatively impacting local property taxpayers.