Railway taxes up

Duane Hicks

The town will be getting more money from railway right-of-way property taxation this year–and will be asking the province to get an even higher rate if possible.
In a report from town treasurer Laurie Lindberg that council received at its regular meeting Monday night, she said the province announced March 28 that it will further reduce rate inequities by increasing the lowest property tax rates on mainline railway rights-of-way to a minimum of $110 per acre for 2018.
This will equal about $11,300 in railway taxes for the town.
In 2016, the municipal rate was $35 per acre (equal to $3,600 in railway taxes) but it was increased to $80 per acre for 2017, which bumped up the amount to more than $8,200.
As well, the province announced municipalities have the option to increase rates per acre on high-tonnage lines based on a new, adjusted tax rate schedule, the details of which will be given to municipalities and the rail industry later this spring.
Coun. Ken Perry, who has been a champion of railway property taxation reform since 2016, said he will have a resolution coming forward in the near future to request Finance minister Charles Sousa to review the tonnage going through Fort Frances.
If the tonnage is 70 million tonnes or more, Fort Frances will qualify for getting $300 per acre as opposed to $110.
Coun. Perry added there’s probably only six municipalities in Ontario that will qualify for the higher rate, and he believes Fort Frances is one of them.