County levy going up
Preliminary budget discussions have begun in the Renfrew County council chambers, and the early numbers suggest that, to the surprise of nobody who accepts the Benjamin Franklin truism about death and taxes, the average county resident will be paying a bit more this year than they did in 2012. Specifically, the county is forecasting a total levy of $36,332,027, 2.8 per cent higher than last year’s levy of $35,343,216.
If you look only at the currently proposed tax rate, it looks like tremendously good news for county ratepayers, with a 0.91 per cent drop, from last year’s rate of $367.43 for every $100,000 of assessed value to a paltry $364.09.
Unfortunately, as many people are already painfully aware, assessments this year, in a continuation of the perpetual trend, have gone up, so chances are while your rate is going down, the actual dollars coming out of your bank account will make a bigger hole than they did last year.
Overall, the weighted assessment across the county in 2013 sits at $9,978,884,696, 3.74 per cent higher than last year’s assessment value of $9,618,985,544. That growth is made up of 1.8 per cent new growth and 1.94 per cent increased assessment on existing property.
In other words, across Renfrew County, approximately $172,751,592 worth of new development happened over the course of last year, while the rest of the assessment increase (totalling roughly $187,147,559) comes from the assessed value of existing property being increased by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
Put plainly, based on these very preliminary numbers, if you were one of the county residents whose MPAC assessment decided that your property hadn’t really increased in value since last year, then you will pay less in taxes this year than last. If your assessment went up, however, the fact that the tax rate itself dropped by a little less than one per cent will unfortunately not mean that your taxes have also dropped.
The main piece that’s still missing from these budget discussions is the education portion of county tax bills, which has not been set, but has been estimated to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of four per cent, according to county CAO Jim Hutton.
Ryan Paulsen is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist. Follow him on Twitter @PRyanPaulsen.