Huron-Kinloss council wants the province to raise the assessment value of industrial wind turbines.
At the council meeting on Mar. 17, the township endorsed a letter sent by the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Group to the Ontario finance minister calling to increase the base assessment value of $40,000 per installed turbine.
“The generally recognized cost of the foundation and tower for a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine is $800,000. The base cost assessment should more closely reflect this reality,” the letter says.
Provincial regulations keep the assessed value of turbines artificially low, limiting the funds municipalities can collect in property taxes and giving industrial wind turbine operators the financial resources to offer “strings attached” vibrancy funds, it says.
“These [vibrancy funds] come with many strings attached and put the developer in a control position. The most recent draft [agreements] that we have seen indicate that developers plan to adjust the [funds available] if their tax costs increase.”
“The Green Energy Act and this artificially-low tax base assessment have jeopardized the ability of a municipality to raise property taxes·to conduct its business. The annual allocation of Ontario funding to each municipality is decreasing. A fairer tax-revenue-generation process is needed to off-set this shortfall.”
“We look forward to your working with us to facilitate this change in a predictable manner so that municipalities will not be dependent on vibrancy funds in lieu of proper industrial taxes.”
Coun. Don Murray spoke in favour of the working group’s position. “It would make a big difference to the municipality if we were able to tax on $800,000 rather than the $40,000 we can now,” he said.
Council passed a resolution to forward the letter to the Ontario finance minister, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thompson.
In a separate motion, council approved increasing an administrative fee paid to the turbine working group to $700 from $500 to help cover the costs of a closed meeting investigator; a report from a recent investigation showed the group was operating beyond its mandate and recommended greater transparency as it conducts its business.