May 23, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
When it comes to calculating how much extra you'll pay in property taxes this year, less really is more.
City officials say Winnipeggers who own properties valued at less than $200,000 may see their property tax bills rise more than 3.5 per cent in 2012.
That's because of a double whammy: a property tax hike the same year as a general reassessment.
City assessor Nelson Karpa said the city assesses residential and commercial properties every two years to see their actual market value. Officials take 45 per cent of a home's market value to calculate how much is owing in property tax.
Karpa said the average Winnipeg home has increased in value by 13 per cent in the 2012 assessment.
Karpa said any homeowner whose property increased more than the city-wide average will likely pay more than an additional 3.5 per cent in property taxes this year.
In general, Winnipeg homeowners with properties in the $75,000 to $175,000 range will see a larger increase on their property tax bill this year than residents who own more expensive homes. That's because the current demand for homes in this price range has caused their value to rise faster than homes in the $1-million range, Karpa said.
For example, City of Winnipeg tax information shows Coun. Harvey Smith (Mynarski) will pay $53 in additional property taxes this year on a home that's been assessed at $71,200. Mayor Sam Katz, whose Tuxedo-area home is valued at close to $1 million, will pay an additional $27 in property taxes.
The value of Smith's home increased by 23 per cent in the last two years, while Katz's rose 9.3 per cent.
"That's the sweet spot, because you have all kinds of people who can play in that market," Karpa said of less-expensive properties.
"Higher-value properties tend to increase less in value over time because that's the way the market works."
This week, the city unveiled its $900-million operating budget. It calls for a property tax hike amid the rising cost of services such as policing.
The property tax increase is expected to raise an additional $14.8 million to help cover the spending increase.
For the average Winnipeg residence, the 3.5 per cent hike will mean an additional $48 to $60 a year.
However, Karpa said some homeowners will see taxes drop or increase, depending on how close they are to the city-wide average.
City tax information shows finance chairman Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James) will pay an additional $173 in property taxes this year after the value of his home rose nearly 20 per cent.
By comparison, Coun. Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan) will pay $18.25 less on her property tax bill after the value of her home increased by about eight per cent.
Katz said elected officials have no control over reassessments, which are calculated using a basic formula.
He said Winnipeg reassesses properties every two years, instead of every four as was done in the past, so homeowners aren't faced with sticker shock if their tax bill increases during a reassessment year.
"The problem with that is, just because the value of your home has gone up, it doesn't put more money in your pocket," Katz said on Wednesday.
Reaction to the tax increase has been mixed. Some residents say the hike is needed to maintain services, while others say it's another burden on taxpayers.
Katz said the cost of everything increases over time and Winnipeg needs to maintain and enhance its services.
However, he said, property taxes are a regressive form of taxation and he will continue to argue for a larger share of growth revenues from other levels of government.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2012 A4
Updated on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 10:47 AM CST:
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