Increased assessment of Island properties reflect true values

Actual values to be phased in over four years

MANITOULIN—With 2012 assessments from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) making their way into Island residences, coffee shop talk has been all about the increases seen by Island homeowners.

Central Manitoulin residents have seen the largest increase with a 42.1 percent increase in current value assessment (CVA) from 2008 for single-family dwellings and a 45.3 percent increase in the category of waterfront, which includes cottages and permanent residences. Those in the residential tax class of Central Manitoulin, which includes vacant lands, residential properties located on farm and commercial/industrial property and other non-residential property classified as residential (such as a not-for-profit organization’s building), have seen an increase of 39.9 percent.

“It’s not surprising,” Central Manitoulin clerk-treasurer Ruth Frawley said of the increase. “We are developing quite rapidly with lot of new homes and buildings being built.”

She reminded residents that just because they have seen an increase in their assessments does not mean they will see an increase in their taxes.

Although a dramatic rise in one’s assessment might give rise to a corresponding rise in panic over a concurrent rise in a property owner’s tax bill, the two are not necessarily directly related. A municipality calculates the amount of money required to meet its operating and capital expenses, its yearly budget, independently of the municipality’s assessment base. The amount on the bottom line of the budget is then compared to the total assessment of the municipality and a mill rate, or that percentage of each property owner’s property value needed to meet that bottom line is set. Should all property assessments rise together at the same rate, and the municipal budget remain static, the amount on the tax bill will also remain steady. A dramatic rise in one property’s assessment only results in a disproportionate rise in that property’s actual tax bill if that property’s real value rises faster than that of other properties in the municipality. Of course a rise in the bottom line of the municipality’s tax requirements will result in everybody’s taxes rising together, but only as their share of the whole bill, based on the relative value of their property compared to that of their neighbours. A property whose assessment rises could actually see a drop in the dollar amount on its tax bill, should the value of other properties in the municipality rise to a higher percentage of the municipality’s total assessment.

Tehkummah has had an increase of 25.2 percent in single-family dwellings, with a 42.4 percent increase in waterfront properties. A 28.1 percent increase in residential tax class dwellings was felt in 2012.

In the unorganized municipalities of Dawson and Robinson, single-family dwellings increased from 2008 to 2012 by 20.1 percent, waterfront by 32.5 percent and residential class tax class by 35.4 percent.

Assiginack saw the second highest raise in single-family dwelling assessments with 37.6 percent followed closely with a 36.2 percent increase in waterfront properties. Residential tax class properties climbed in Assiginack by 33.7 percent.

In the Northeast Town, single-family dwellings raised by 34.2 percent, waterfront by 46.8 percent and residential tax class by 39.5 percent.

Billings received a hike of 29.1 percent for single-family dwellings with a large jump in waterfront of 45.1 percent. Billings residential tax class properties increased by 37.6 percent.

In Gordon and Barrie Island, single-family dwellings raised by 24.9 percent with waterfront properties nearly doubling their 2008 assessment with 49.9 percent followed by a 41.9 percent increase for residential tax class properties.

Of the larger Island communities, Gore Bay saw the smallest increase for single-family dwellings at 27.8 percent. Waterfront properties increased by 30.1 percent while residential tax class real estate increased by 25.4 percent.

Burpee and Mills saw the largest increase in waterfront properties on Manitoulin Island at 56.5 percent. Single-family dwellings jumped by 32.3 percent from 2008 and residential tax class properties raised by 37.1 percent.

Cockburn Island saw the only decrease on Manitoulin. Waterfront properties decreased by 23.7 percent and residential tax class by 3.5 percent. Statistics for single-dwelling homes were not available, as there is only one home registered in this category.

The municipality of Killarney saw a 17.5 percent increase in single-family dwellings, a 40 percent increase in waterfront properties and a 33.8 percent jump in residential tax class properties.

In total for Manitoulin, single-family dwellings increased by an average of 32.2 percent, waterfront properties by an average of 44.4 percent and residential tax class real estate by an average of 37.6 percent.

The percentages given are increases over the course of four years, 2008 to 2012. Dividing this number by four is the yearly increase of assessment in percentage terms members of the municipalities will realize over each of the next four years. Owners of property on Cockburn Island will see an immediate decrease in their assessment which will remain the same over the next four years.

The accompanying chart shows, in each right hand column titled CVA (Current Value Assessment), the total increase in assessed value for each class of property in each municipality between 2008 and the present year, 2012.

The left hand columns, titled ‘2013,’ shows the average assessment increase that will be added on to the valuation of each property type beginning next year (and which will continue for the three years following that.)

While the percentage increases can’t vary for each class of property over the next four years beginning in 2013, each subsequent year (2014, 2015 and 2016) will show increases that are based on the previous year’s imputed value, including that year’s increase so the effect is cumulative.

Alicia McCutcheon