MPAC changes would hit Cornwall homeowners for $1.6M: city

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – If the city didn’t change the number of tax dollars it collected in 2017 (from 2016), homeowners would still be socked in the wallet for another $58 a year.

That’s a 2.57 per cent increase based on the assessment for residential properties.

It’s due to the latest calculations by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) for the taxation years of 2017-2020.

Those changes have scraped away roughly $62 million in the value of commercial properties, while adding $85 million to the value of residential properties.

The City of Cornwall is mandated by the Province of Ontario to collect taxes based on municipal assessment, basically railroading the city to abide by the MPAC calculations.

The change is mainly due to the “methodology” for calculating property values on commercial and industrial properties, CFO Tracey Bailey told council Monday night.

“Are all municipalities going through the same thing?” Coun. Andre Rivette asked.

“There are many municipalities in the same position,” Bailey said.

“We didn’t cause the problem but we have to deal with it,” Coun. Denis Carr said.

This same scenario happened in 2012 where the MPAC value of commercial properties – namely distribution centers — ballooned and the city was forced to collect those taxes.

The distribution centers then appealed those assessments and Cornwall could see itself paying back millions of dollars in taxes in 2017 after an arbitration review board (ARB) holds a mediation meeting next month.