Thunder Bay – The Property Assessment System Is Built To Fail


MPAC officials have answers, but not all of them may be to the liking of regional leaders

Special properties, such as a pulp and paper mill, are being assessed based on production or sometimes whether parts of the property are still being used for an operation.

“That is the same as the international standard,” Wisniowski said.

NOMA president Dave Canfield said if it’s here to stay, there needs to be some changes. A good year for a business should then mean a good year for municipal revenue.

“If they want us to share in part of their loss then we should be sharing in part of their profit,” he said.

Thunder Bay city manager Tim Commisso points to local grain elevators as an example. Last year set records for the amount of tonnage moving through the port yet those elevators still had a reduced assessment.

“We don’t like the fact that it’s still there,” he said.

Commisso also wants to see a change to the appeal process so that a company can’t just hire lawyers and accountants on commission to fight an assessment once it’s complete.

“That’s not the way it should be,” he said. “That’s not the way it’s done with the Planning Act and it’s not the way it should be done with assessment.” – Tbnewswatch

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tax addict cartoon3
It’s not a pretty sight to watch an addict panic when their drug supply is threatened.  Its obvious that there is a limit to how much money a government can take out of a community. Every dollar that I have to pay to governments in taxes and user fees and every dollar that I have to pay utilities is a dollar that I can’t spend.  Its money taken out of MY community.  Taken out of the pockets of businesses that I patronize.
The system of using assessed value of a property to calculate property taxes has one basic flaw. The  system that only works when property values continue to rise.  The system fails when property values decline.  It also penalizes owners from improving their properties.  Value assessment is just a guess at best and is very expensive.
There is a bureaucracy built around the old system and it will not die easily but it needs to die.  It needs to be put out of its misery.
A simpler method of calculating taxes is to use frontage…period.  You can still have different classes of properties:  Residential, commercial and industrial.  Different tax rates for each property class.
A property with 100 foot frontage pays the same taxes no mater how large a building it contains. An empty lot pays the same taxes as a lot with a building on it. ALL property owners pay….That way, the tax burden is spread out evenly among all property owners.
Then, and this is also key…the City of Thunder Bay needs to get its spending under control. Learn to live within its means. Prioritize its basic services and fund those.
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