How the 2013 property tax rate zoomed by 26 per cent

Posted June 11, 2013

Remember last fall when the council worked to keep the property tax increase at three per cent or less? Remember when the staff proposed an 8.5 percent property tax increase?

As council deliberations sought to keep the increase in that range, Coun. Gloria Kovach came up with a proposal to keep the increase below three per cent. She suggested the staff cut $500,000 in their budgets that would lower the increase to 2.96 per cent. That would be the smallest increase in seven years.

Everyone went home that night feeling good about themselves after approving the Kovach proposal.

Well, it hasn’t turned out that way. Checking with the finance department the real increase is now 3.74 per cent. In addition Impac Corporation, the provincial assessment concern, will increase property assessments over the next four years. The increases must be phased equally each year starting this year.

Here’s an example. Suppose your property is currently assessed at $300,000. Impac would reassess the property and determine the market value has gone up 15 percent since former Premier Dalton McGuinty stopped property re-assessments five years ago. That means your home has a current market value of $345,000. Over the next four years your assessment will increase by $6,000 a year.

This affects the tax base of the city as the increases in assessments provides more property tax revenue.

This process started with the 2013 tax year.

There is nothing the city can do about these increases as it is provincially mandated and affects every property in the province.

What is bothersome is why a .78 percent increase in property taxes is appearing in tax bills? Was this assessment increase not accounted for when the budget process was underway?

If it was considered, why was the approved property tax rate increased by some 26 per cent?

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8 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

8 responses to “How the 2013 property tax rate zoomed by 26 per cent

  1. In answer to the questions from your post….it’s pretty simple…Farbridge and council have no clue what they are doing. They do enjoy getting their names and pictures in the paper though.

  2. geo

    Is there any way to stop this?
    No matter what I cut back on or eliminate I just fall further behind because there is no way my income is keeping up with municipal tax increases.
    The City simply takes a greater percentage of my earnings every year and to add insult to injury this inept, cowardly council and this arrogant, navel gazing staff might as well burn this money to heat that giant City Hall for all the good they’ve done with it.

    • Too many members of this council are currently or have previously been employed by the university. They spend money as if the city was the university. What they seem to forget is not everyone has a job where they receive benefits, sick pay, pensions etc… They seem to forget about the majority living on fixed incomes and minimal pensions. They don’t seem to notice that the cost of living keeps going up, yet wages of the average citizen do not. Instead of budgeting finances the way the average citizen would budget their personal finances, they spend spend spend, because they have good jobs that pay well. All of this is the reason they rejected the proposal of one councillor to have staff present a budget with a 0% tax increase. Why? Because they know if staff came forward with a budget containing a 0% residential tax increase, they would have to operate the city with the same amount of money they did the previous year. The next council is going to have to tighten the belts around city hall and make significant cuts without punishing the taxpayers.

  3. Glen N. Tolhurst

    Gerry: Once again you expose the “tax & spend” mentality” of council members and city administration. That they don’t seem to “give a tinker’s damn” about the ever escalating residential tax burden is all too typical of what emanates from city hall. I have previously railed about “phantom” tax increases precipitated by MPAC assessment increases which are based on the fallacy that a home owner should be taxed on the presumed value of their home with out the value being determined by the market place. The only true value of a residence is what it sells for in an open market. Thus individual home assessments should only be revised when they are in fact sold. However, city council automatically uses the revised MPAC assessment as the base for residential taxes. If council cared about the home owners they would decrease the mill rate by the same percent as the MPAC assessment increase to hold level the dollar value of taxes. This would provide home owners with transparency of tax increases. But no, it is easier to be devious and continue to gouge the residential home owners by slipping in this phantom tax increase based on the assumption that the home owners are too stupid to notice it. Well, come civic elections in October 2014, council will find out how mistaken they are in assuming home owners are stupid. The masters of deception populating council and the administration will get their comeuppance via a well needed wholesale purge of their ranks, which should not surprise even the simplest amongst them.

    • Glen N. Tolhurst: Trouble is they believe they can perpetuate trying to fool all the people all the time when in fact they are only fooling themselves. Deception and obfuscation are the keywords to this administration. Hopefully there will be some who recognize their policies are leading to a taxpayer revolt and try to put common sense and good business practices back into civic management. Those who stay with the Farbridge team better dust off the resumes because Her Worship’s fabled train is about to hit an open switch.

  4. Well all I can say is, if Cuba ever opens up their country to Canadians to purchase property, I will be the first buyer. I am so sick and tired of this City spending my hard earned measly pension and allowing students to take over subdivisions, and driving on roller coaster, pot holed roads. I can get a donkey to draw a trailer, a modest house and beautiful weather in Cuba. In Guelph all you get is taken. Thank you Mayor Farbridge.

  5. geo

    Right On Heather!

  6. Geo, I’ll let you know. But we can’t tell too many people or Mayor Farbridge might end up there too with her councillors 🙂

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