Mayor Watson looking into support for farmers
Local farmers whose crops were devastated by this summer's drought may be able to get some financial aid from the city.
In a memo Monday, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said he has asked city manager Kent Kirkpatrick to "explore all possibilities for the City of Ottawa to provide support to those needing it in our farming community."
"I would like staff to explore how we might adapt our Farm Grant Program to quickly assist those in the most desperate situations," Watson said in a letter to city councillors. "While we do have one of the lowest farm tax ratios in the province, sometimes events mean that we all have to dig a bit deeper to provide whatever extra measure of help may be possible."
Under the program, eligible farm owners are allowed to pay their final property tax instalment in December rather than June.
Watson said he was moved to act after visiting the Navan Fair last week where he heard stories from the farmers themselves, including Wyatt McWilliams, the Navan farmer behind the Hay West campaign a decade ago.
Watson asked Kirkpatrick to prepare a report for the next meeting of the Finance and Economic Development Committee on Aug. 27.