As the budget process heads into the home stretch, it seems that the city has found some extra change in the couch cushions, at least enough to knock down the expected tax burden by about one per cent. As it stands now, the tax increase for 2014 is expected to be 2.37 per cent as opposed to the previously reported 3.36 per cent.
The cut comes courtesy of new figures from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and the County of Wellington, and despite the fact that the total operating budget is now $400,000 more than the initial estimate released on November 5th. That's good news for city hall deficit hawks, and good news for the average tax payer, but will all parties be satisfied with an increase that's still more than a full point more than the cost of inflation?
The full press release is below:
Guelph, ON, November 27, 2013 – City staff are now recommending a $193,265,418 tax-supported operating budget for 2014; a 2.37 per cent increase over last year. The updated figure is close to one per cent less than originally proposed in October, and is based on updated figures from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and the County of Wellington.
“Since presenting the budget on November 5, we received updated information from MPAC and the County, and we further reviewed our own finances to ensure City Council and the community have the most recent and accurate information before voting on the City’s budget,” said Al Horsman, the City’s chief financial officer. “Now we’re looking at a 2.37 per cent increase over last year, rather than a 3.36 per cent increase, and that’s good news for Guelph taxpayers.”
During a City Council this evening, staff highlighted a $92,100 increase in the City’s payment to the County of Wellington, a $400,000 increase in expected fuel and energy costs next year, a $92,600 reduction in the fees paid to MPAC and a $2.2 million increase in assessment growth—the total change in property value assessments so far this year.
While preparing the City’s budget earlier this fall, staff estimated last year’s assessment growth would be $1.4 million. A more recent report from MPAC shows assessment growth at $3.6 million.
“The total dollar amount of the proposed 2014 budget increased by $399,500, but when we factor in the higher than expected assessment growth we experienced this year, the percentage change from this year to next year goes down, reducing the impact on taxpayers next year,” added Horsman.
View the updates to the proposed 2014 budget and related tax increase
About assessment growth
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation determines all Ontario property values and reports them to the City. The City uses these assessments to calculate property taxes. In any given year, the total assessed value of all properties in Guelph will go up or down depending on construction of new homes and neighbourhoods, commercial developments and other community improvements and changes. MPAC reports on these changing values throughout the year, and the next MPAC assessment roll is expected on December 10, 2013.