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Appeals minimize county assessment growth

by Patrick Raftis

GUELPH - Wellington County is “treading water” in terms of revenue-generating assessment growth, says the chair of the county’s administration, finance and human resources committee.

“It’s almost like you’re standing still because as we gain the growth, we lose the growth,” councillor Chris White told county council on Feb. 23.

White was commenting  on an update on supplementary revenue and write-offs and an overview of 2017 assessment rolls presented in a report by county treasurer Ken DeHart.

The analysis is based on 2017 phased-in current value assessment (CVA) as provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), explained DeHart.

He noted this is the first year of the mandatory phase-in of the 2016 base-year reassessment.

Additional revenue in 2016 for county purposes was $1,996,291 which, DeHart pointed out, is substantially higher than the budgeted amount of $800,000. The county share of write-offs in 2016 was $1,137,884.

“However gravel pit deductions totaling $519,005 (includes refunds processed for the 2016 tax year and an additional provision set up for remaining gravel pit write-offs to be processed), when added to the additional provision for other assessment at risk, increases the total write-off amount to $1,920,141 (budgeted at $850,000), resulting in a net revenue gain of $76,501 for county purposes,” the report states.

Assessment at risk is the value associated with properties for which unresolved Assessment Review Board appeals have been lodged.

The largest write-offs that pertain to properties other than gravel pits lie within Puslinch ($278,655) and Centre Wellington ($535,985).

In Puslinch, the figure relates to 56 properties. Centre Wellington had fewer affected properties with more significant reductions, including over $200,000 for a standard industrial property and over $200,000 for an automotive parts plant.

In its third quarter report, MPAC provided a list of the top outstanding Assessment Review Board appeals in Wellington County based on assessment value at risk. Four of the top ten are in Puslinch and two of those are gravel pits.

Other outstanding appeals include:

- Morguard, with a CVA of $34,249,000, scheduled for a hearing on March 15, and

- TG Minto, scheduled for a hearing on April 28. The value under appeal is $15,092,000.

“It’s man-made loss; I mean it’s MPAC and the way they’re assessing the pits,” stated White.

“If the Walmarts and the Home Depots and all of those stores, like they’ve done in the states, convince MPAC that they should get the money back … it’s like treading water.

“So even the provincial uploads and stuff like that all becomes moot when we lose this … so this is a fight we need to move on.”

March 10, 2017


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