The Town of Blue Mountains is one step closer to developing some attainable housing thanks to a boost in funding from a 2019 taxation project.
“Through the efforts of our council and staff we were able to gain back a tremendous amount of money through supplementary and omitted assessments,” said The Blue Mountains deputy mayor, Rob Potter at a Grey County Committee of the Whole meeting held Feb. 13. “What we are trying to do is take these extra funds and put it to use to help us with the issue of attainable housing.”
In 2019, the Town of the Blue Mountains began working with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation to identify supplementary or omitted tax assessments in the area.
A supplementary tax is an additional assessment conducted within the current tax year after improvements or changes have been made to a property. An omitted assessment serves the same purpose but allows assessors to review properties and changes up to two years prior to the current tax year.
The funds collected through this initiative are in addition to the property tax that was collected and budgeted for, creating what Potter called ‘bonus’ money.
The Town of The Blue Mountains is now trying to have that money directed towards the community’s attainable housing problem.
“We all know attainable housing is an issue right now,” Potter said. “It is an economic issue for us. It is taking away potential business from our community and it is probably doing the same in all of yours. Unless we find ways to address it and fund it, we aren’t going to be able to deal with it in a timely manner and we will lose out on these economic opportunities.”
When the supplementary and omitted taxes were collected, a portion of the funds were allocated to the county. At the Feb. 13 meeting, Grey County council debated returning the county’s portion of this income, with the understanding that the funds will be allocated to support the development of attainable housing in the Town of Blue Mountains.
Despite receiving a split vote from the council, the motion was carried, and so, the Town of the Blue Mountains will receive $850,000, stemming from the collection of these supplemental and omitted assessments in 2019.
“There is a great need for affordable housing. At any given time at Blue Mountain Resort they are probably short 500 to 800 workers and that is simply because there is no place for people to live,” said Shirley Keaveney, councillor for the town of Meaford and member of Grey County’s attainable housing task force. “I think that it is appropriate to support this request and support the Blue Mountains to build the housing that is desperately needed there to bring workers into this community.”