Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Your wallets are getting lighter

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WINNIPEG homeowners now fork over upwards of $300 more a year than they did a few years ago due to annual city tax and rate hikes.

In 2011, the city continued the property-tax freeze but frontage levies rose to $3.75 per frontage foot from $2.55 per foot, a move that cost homeowners of 50-foot lots an additional $60. Two subsequent property-tax hikes followed -- 3.5 per cent in 2012 and 3.87 per cent in 2013 -- which cost the average city homeowner an extra $57 this year and between $48 and $60 in 2012, depending on a home's assessed value.

Any homeowner whose property value increased more than the city-wide average of 13 per cent in 2012 paid even more. Winnipeg homeowners with properties in the $75,000 to $175,000 range generally saw a larger increase on their property-tax bill in 2012 than residents who own more expensive homes, because the current demand for homes in this price range has caused their value to rise faster.

Last year, Winnipeg also added a $50 annual fee to residents' water bills to pay for a new garbage and recycling master plan.

Water and sewer rates have risen every year since 2003 to help cover the cost of Winnipeg's $1.8 billion in water-treatment upgrades.

This year, the average Winnipegger is expected to spend $939.32 on their water and sewer bill -- an extra $38 from 2012. Water bills rose by an extra $51 in 2012 and $46.40 in 2011.

The fees associated with other city programs -- such as animal control and athletic rentals -- have also increased as Winnipeg attempts to recover its costs of delivering certain services.

In late November, the city increased hourly parking rates from $1 to $2 at 143 pay stations in the Exchange and downtown.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2013 A4

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