Higher than expected assessment growth could give Londoners some tax relief in 2018

City politicians may be able to keep their promise for the 2018 tax hike after all.

City staff say assessment growth is higher than expected, leaving the city with an extra $1.5 million to use during budget talks.

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“We were able to get a final number for our assessment growth. Typically we don’t actually get that number until December, but we worked with MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) and we were able to get that number a little earlier than usual,” said Anna Lisa Barbon, city of London treasurer.

If that money were applied to the 2018 tax increase, as city staff have recommended, it would help decrease the projected increase down from 3.3 per cent to 3 per cent.

“It would be prudent for council to consider using to apply against the tax rate,” said Barbon

Barbon says applying the money against the tax rate would be a wise decision given the one-time challenges and the challenges outside of council’s control, such as Ontario’s decision to increase the minimum wage to $14 in January.

For council to follow the staff plan, they’d have to go against their own rules which recommends against using assessment growth for tax purposes.

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The extra money was made public at Wednesday’s public participation meeting on the budget at the strategic priorities and policy committee meeting. The excess cash will be discussed by city politicians next week.

London’s multi-year budget originally called for the tax hike next year to be 2.9 per cent.

The property tax bill for the average London home owner would be raised to $79 next year for the average home assessed at $221,000.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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