MPP Mantha challenges high Northern Ontario tax assessments

TORONTO—Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin ,questioned the province last week on the high tax assessments being assessed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation on property owners in Northern Ontario.

“It’s something I raised in the house last week,” said Mr. Mantha, last Friday. “The tax assessments have doubled or tripled in a lot of cases in just four years. I had one senior tell me the assessed value of her home went from $80,000 to more than $180,000. There is no way the tax assessments can go up that much, and especially for seniors and other people on fixed incomes they can’t afford this.”

“I can understand property values have and can go up, but people won’t be able handle the type of increases we are hearing,” said Mr. Mantha. “I remember in Gore Bay a few years ago hearing gut wrenching stories from people who said they would have to move out of their houses and into apartments because they couldn’t afford the tax property assessments.”

“Yes, the government was positive on this question, the premier said they will look into why tax assessments have gone up so much in the North. The property values in the North shouldn’t be compared to those in Southern Ontario,” continued Mr. Mantha.

“Also this would also mean there will be an adjustment in the municipal mill rate,” said Mr. Mantha. “If mill rates are increased it would create more hardship on homeowners-property owners.”

The tax assessment hikes are also going to affect Ontario farm values negatively, said Mr. Mantha. “It definitely will and we have a lot of farmers on Manitoulin Island and Echo Bay for instance, who want and need to know how MPAC came up with the numbers they have.”

Mr. Mantha said he will be trying to get MPAC representatives to visit the area to explain how they came up with their municipal, residential and farmland assessments. “It’s obvious adjustments are going to have to be made.”