Southgate will accept applications from low-income seniors and people on ODSP for up to $ 500 relief against their property tax increases.

Gray County has revised its program and found it outdated and lacking real help for homeowners on fixed income. Staff recommended changes to the program.

But along the way, the province stepped in and instead handed responsibility to lower-tier municipalities.

So the decision came to Southgate on how the township would provide relief, some form of which is required by Ontario law.

The council adopted the measures presented by John Kurian, Deputy Treasurer, on the basis of a brief by a city councilor on tax fairness.

Southgate collects taxes not only for itself, but also for Gray County and owner-appointed school boards.

The same measures are then transmitted to the school board and to the higher level in proportion to their share of the taxes collected.

NO MINIMUM

In the old program, people’s taxes had to increase by $ 500 a year to qualify, which rarely happened. Southgate removed the minimum, as Gray County voted in March.

And after giving relief by postponing the increase, the county would put a lien on people’s homes – a great deterrent to apply. The amount was refunded when the property was sold.

The ineffectiveness of the previous program was revealed during the county discussion, when the treasurer said he was not personally aware of any properties for which the deferral had been granted.

When reviewing the policy by staff, a group of lower-level treasurers said it was better to give simple relief with a cap rather than grant a deferral, as they felt the administrative burden (and therefore the cost of staff time) outweighed the return.

HOW TO REGISTER

Anyone who thinks they are eligible can apply to the municipality. The form is available on the Southgate website under Tax Department, by clicking on Tax Rebates and Relief Programs.

To be eligible, you must be the registered owner and be eligible for GIS for Seniors, ODSP, or OW.

Proof is not required to apply, but will be required upon approval, and fines are expected for any fraudulent attempt.

The program deadline is December 31 of the year in which taxes are due. This means that you can apply now for 2021, but not for 2020.


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