Property Taxes – Can you afford to stand back and do nothing?

As News Advertiser reports, new budget guidelines for 2014 for property tax increase  in Pickering  are  3.9% (municipal) and 2.35% (regional). See articles: Pickering could see 3.9-per cent tax hike in 2014 ,  Durham looks to hold 2014 tax hike at 2.35 per cent .

Year after year Durham region and the City of Pickering increase the amount we pay for property taxes. Why not create guidelines to prevent the increase of taxes? Other municipalities can do it so why not Pickering? Windsor hasn’t increased their property taxes in 5 years (see article “Across the river from bankrupt Detroit, Windsor boasts five years without a tax hike”).

Property taxes in Toronto are half of what we pay in Pickering.  For example for a house worth $400,000 property tax in Pickering was $2,300 more than in Toronto.

Here are the values from 2013:

Toronto  Property Tax Calculator
Toronto Property Tax Calculator

Pickering’s tax rate for 2013 was around 1.3% (0.01321446) comparing to Mississauga’s 0.93% (0.00926648) and Toronto’s 0.74% (0.00745765). Almost twice as much! 

Do we get more or better services than Torontonians do? I don’t think so. So what’s the problem? Are our local politicians and staff not capable of preparing a budget that serves the residents?

Maybe some of our politicians are not motivated enough because there is so little involvement from the residents.  Many people complain about high property taxes but they avoid active participation in the City’s budget discussions. As one of the City Councilors described it during a council meeting, where does the arbitrary figure of a 3.9% ceiling come from?