Tax increase in Ogden another blow for embattled campground

Tax increase in Ogden another blow for embattled campground

By Ruby Pratka

Local Journalism Initiative

The Municipality of Ogden has raised tax rates on industrial and commercial land, potentially dealing a crippling blow to the private seasonal campground operated by the Weir Memorial Park board.

Historically, Ogden has maintained a single tax rate for all residential, industrial and commercial property on its territory; however, this year, the municipality has raised the tax rate on commercial and industrial properties by 50 per cent, from 76 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.14 per $100. Combined with an increase in overall property values, this would more than quadruple the park’s annual tax bill, raising it from just over $3,550 to just over $14,750, according to park board member and former Stanstead mayor Philip Dutil, who has accused the municipality of “bullying” the park board.

Ogden Mayor David Lépine, for his part, denies targeting the park, saying the tax increase on commercial property has one goal – to cushion the impact of soaring residential property values. “In Quebec, municipalities have only one real source of revenue, and that’s property taxes,” he explained. “We looked around and saw that most municipalities differentiated between residential and commercial taxes, which we weren’t doing. We have about 23 commercial enterprises and we increased their rate [without distinction]. Had we not done that, residential taxes would have increased by 11 per cent instead of 6 per cent. I’m not surprised that the [park board] feels they are being targeted… they think it’s revenge, but that’s conjecture.”

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