Watford landfill worth $95 million pays $27K in taxes

A truck passes by Waste Management’s Watford facility. A recent review by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has estimated the value of the landfill should be over 3,000 percent hirer than it is now.

A truck passes by Waste Management’s Watford facility. A recent review by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation has estimated the value of the landfill should be over 3,000 percent hirer than it is now.

$95 million.

That’s how much Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation estimates Waste Management’s Twin Creeks landfill in Warwick is worth and the municipality’s mayor says it’s time the company pay its fair share of taxes.

Warwick Mayor and Lambton Warden Todd Case says after two landfills were sold at prices above market value MPAC took a select number of landfills in the province to determine if they were under accessed. All of the landfill’s surveyed went up in value from seven to 4,000 per cent. The Warwick landfill’s assessment is over 3,300 percent higher than the $2.8 million it was assessed in 2008.

Case is not surprised.

“There is no doubt about it, they are assessed way to low…I’ve been waiving that flag for a while,” says Case. Twin Creek’s total tax bill right now is just $27,000. “What we did way, way back was we went to MPAC and said ‘some landfill assessed next to nothing…others not much more, we need to look at these for what they are – huge earners for companies.”

Case says the province has now recognized the problem. It has said in the most recent budget all landfills will be assessed.

“I think they should be taxed fairly and $27,000 is not fair by any means,” says Case. The mayor says so many improvements have been made to the Twin Creeks site, it has lots of available space and can accept waste from all of Ontario and Michigan that it should have a much higher assessment.

But Case says it will be a delicate balance. “If all of the sudden they are taxed at a huge ridiculous amount, there is only one person that is going to pay and that’s the people who use it

“I want something more reasonable from a taxation standpoint…but at the same time the government has to look at this …in that it’s not so ridiculous a tax that it’s not affordable to get rid of the garbage.

“We are looking for them to assess a landfill in a correct way; any municipality hosting a landfill should be getting a fair amount of money.”

Whatever the assessment is, Case says this will be good for his municipality.

“At the end of the day we want fair taxation…It could make a huge difference in a municipality our size,” says Case. “It could also help the county in lieu of what’s happening with (the closure) of the Lambton Generating Station.”

Case isn’t sure how long the reassessment of the landfills will take.

– Heather Wright

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