Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Scary and wary

Its getting a little scary when I start agreeing with Councillor Lorje, but with respect to the cash incentives for vacant lot owners (SP July 21/10) I have to agree with her that we need a disincentive program to force absentee owners to do something with vacant lots. The city report said the use of fees or disincentives to spur development could unfairly penalize those who intend to develop the vacant sites. Are we, the taxpayers, being unfairly penalized having to pay increased taxes to support a cash grant to those property owners of derelict buildings and vacant land to encourage them to enhance their property? The people we are talking about, for the best part, are not little old grannies living off meagre pensions. Many are well-heeled business people and/or investors waiting to maximize on the investment.

Its starting to look like the average homeowners who maintain and/or improve their property get penalized in the form of improved assessment and higher taxes. I am very wary of the direction this is heading.

And at least one city councillor is going to have to declare a conflict of interest and refrain from debate and decision on this matter.


  1. Its not just one Councilor I suspect.

    I have haven't see any reason why I as a ratepayer should be ponying up any money for people that can't afford to live in this city or pay their share. It is always under the guise of "for the better good" Well for me the better good is if we get these low- lifes out of our city. Put huge taxes on vacant/undeveloped land that way my taxes should go down.

  2. The city actually has very little control over property tax, I know that is hard to believe but the Mistress knows this to be true. Assessment is governed by the province and SAMA. The city only can control the acual mill rate and can vary the rate somewhat through the use of a mill rate factor, so for example the mill rate factor for commercial proerty over residential is basically 1.75 meaning commercial property is paying 1.75 times as much on the same assessment value. At one time there were mill rate factors applied within asssessment sectors like apartments had a different mill rate factor than say condos or townhouses, I don't know if this practise contiues or not. So when you think an empty lot in downtown is not paying much in taxes, it in fact is probably assessed higher than most houses and paying an additional mill rate factor of 1.75x. Insentives like paying out a grant equal to five years of tax value on improved property to collect at that higher assessment for the next 20years makes good financial sense, remembering the tax kicks in immediately in year one. All of that being said I do agree a little stick to encourage biting the carrot ala Pat Lorje is not a bad idea either


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.