Windsor

Residential taxes are rising in Windsor, despite overall 0% increase

Windsor city council has passed a 2.4 per cent tax increase for residential taxpayers, despite previously announcing taxes would be frozen at zero per cent.

Commercial businesses to see tax cuts of about 6%

Windsor city council discusses the 2021 Tax Policy Report during their May 3, 2021 meeting. (City of Windsor)

Windsor city council has passed a 2.4 per cent property tax increase for residences, despite previously announcing taxes would be frozen at zero per cent.

In February, council approved the proposed 2021 budget — centred on a freeze on property taxes — after the Ontario government took $10.5 million less in its education levy. Instead, that money was applied to some of the city's other expenses.

However, this year marks the first time the province has put conditions on that, Windsor's city treasurer said during Monday's city council meeting.

"This year's education levy reduction ... was specifically targeted to the commercial/industrial class — and not necessarily across all tax classes as it's been done in the past," said Joe Mancina.

Dilkens says the allocation of extra funds from the reduced education levy is left solely up to the province and that the city is not being 'deceptive' by increasing residential taxes. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

As a result, the average residential taxpayer "with a home valued at $150,000 taxes" would see a 2.42 per cent increase (about $64), according to Windsor's 2021 Tax Policy report.

But city officials remained firm its overall tax levy would not be increasing. Therefore, to offset the residential tax increase, commercial businesses and office spaces will see a decrease of about six per cent. Industrial businesses will also see a similar tax decline.

"The decrease in total tax rate for the business classes is a direct result of the reduction in education rate as set by the province and is directly targeted to reduce the overall tax burden to the business classes," the city's 2021 tax report reads.

There's an upside for residential taxpayers, however, since the province has placed a hold on 2021 assessment updates.

That means "new assessment values will be once again delayed" and municipal property tax assessments won't increase despite the rise in home values.

When we say zero, we are not spending more this year net than we did last year — and that has been the number we have always looked at- Drew Dilkens, Windsor's mayor

Ontario's Ford government, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens noted, is responsible for defining which tax class will see cuts and increases. He added that anyone who looks at the 2.42 per cent increase as a "deceptive" move by city council needs to think otherwise.

"When we say zero [per cent tax increase], we are not spending more this year net than we did last year — and that has been the number we have always looked at," said Dilkens.

"What is the amount that we're levying to the tax base? How that shakes out to the different classes is not something you can determine with precision on budget night. It's impossible."

With files from Dale Molnar

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