Ottawa property taxpayers see an approximate 3.4 per cent assessment increase in 2009



    
    Property Assessment Notices in the mail to approximately 279,500 Ottawa
    property owners in first assessment update since 2005
    

    OTTAWA, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - Ottawa property taxpayers will see an average
assessment increase of 3.4 per cent in 2009 as result of the four-year
phase-in of assessment increases introduced by the Provincial Government.
    "Residential property values have increased by approximately 13.8 per
cent in the City of Ottawa since 2005, when the last assessment update was
done. Because of the four-year phase-in introduced by the Provincial
Government, property taxpayers here will see an average assessment increase of
approximately 3.4 per cent next year," said Marcel Clement, Municipal
Relations Representative in the Ottawa office of the Municipal Property
Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
    An increase in assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in
property taxes. If the assessed value of a home has increased by the same
percentage as the average in the municipality, there might be no increase in
the property taxes paid by a property owner.
    Since 2005, built on waterfront property and farmland for farming
purposes in Ottawa have also both increased in value, by approximately 19 per
cent and 25 per cent respectively. Because of the four-year phase-in, property
taxpayers will see an average increase of approximately 4.7 per cent and 6 per
cent respectively, for the 2009 tax year.
    The phase-in program does not apply to decreases in assessed value. The
full amount of a decrease will be applied during the 2009 tax year.
    "Our values are based on actual selling prices and reflect the local real
estate market," Clement said. "We have seen selling prices for homes,
waterfront property and farmland increase over the past three years and our
values show that."
    Municipalities establish tax rates that are applied to assessed values to
pay for local services, and the Provincial Government sets rates for the
education portion of the tax.
    Property Assessment Notices have now been mailed to more than 279,500
property owners in the City of Ottawa.
    "We have made a number of changes to improve customer service and provide
property taxpayers with more information that they can use to decide if their
assessed value is accurate," Clement said.
    The changes include redesigning the Property Assessment Notice to make it
easier to read and new services on our website that make it easier for people
to compare properties and decide if their assessment is correct.
    "Our role is to assess property accurately. We strive for accuracy but
when assessing nearly 4.7 million properties across Ontario, mistakes can be
made. If a property taxpayer believes an error has been made and that his or
her property would not have sold for its assessed value on January 1, 2008, we
want them to call us or visit our Ottawa office. We'll explain how we arrived
at the assessment and, if it's wrong, we'll fix it," Clement said.
    Hours at the Ottawa office will be extended from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday
to Friday, October 27 to November 21 to respond to local taxpayers' questions.
The regular hours at the Ottawa office are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to
Friday. Property taxpayers can also call the Customer Contact Centre at 1 866
296-6722 (MPAC) or visit the MPAC website at www.mpac.ca for more information.

    To view a map of the average assessment change for residential properties
in Ottawa for the 2009 tax year, please go to the following address:
    http://files.newswire.ca/757/Ottawa_assmnt.pdf

    MPAC (www.mpac.ca) is a not-for-profit corporation funded by all Ontario
municipalities. MPAC is responsible for administering a uniform, province-wide
property assessment system based on current values. It provides a range of
services, including the preparation of annual assessment rolls for use by
municipalities and the Province of Ontario to calculate property taxes and
education taxes. Municipal enumerations are also conducted by MPAC in order to
prepare a Preliminary List of Electors for each municipality and school board
during an election year.
    MPAC has 33 local offices located across Ontario. Its head office is
located in Pickering.


    
    Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Announces Extended Hours To
    Support Local Property Owners During the 2008 Assessment Update

    In support of its commitment to help local property owners with their
assessment-related questions and concerns, local MPAC offices will have
extended hours during the delivery of Property Assessment Notices. In Ottawa,
the following extended hours will be in effect.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  MUNICIPAL PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CORPORATION
                               Extended Hours

    Date                         Location                Extended Hour
                                                              Time

    Monday - Friday         Ottawa MPAC Office        8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    October 27 -             1420 Blair Place,
    November 21              Suite 300, Ottawa


    In addition to these local hours, MPAC's province-wide Customer Contact
Centre hours will be extended until November 28. The hours are from 8:00 a.m.
to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
    The Contact Centre can be reached, toll free at 1 866 296-6722 (MPAC).
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                     The New Property Assessment Notice

                           Background Information

    -   The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has improved the
        2008 Property Assessment Notice to make it easier to read and
        understand. This year's Property Assessment Notice will include:

        -  The assessed value of the property for each of the next four tax
           years;

        -  The percentage by which the property has increased or decreased in
           value since the last assessment update in 2005 and the average
           percentage by which properties across the municipality have
           changed in value. If the assessed value of the property has
           changed by the same or a lower percentage than values in the
           municipality as a whole, property taxes may not increase;

        -  A history of past adjustments, if any, made by MPAC through the
           Request for Reconsideration process or the Assessment Review Board
           to the assessed value of the property and whether these are
           reflected in the current assessment;

        -  Details about the property including lot size, square footage, and
           year of construction used by MPAC to help determine the assessed
           value of a property;

        -  A User ID and Password that can be used to access
           AboutMyProperty(TM), an online service that will provide property
           owners with information about neighbouring properties, including
           assessed values, at the click of a mouse;

        -  The phone number and address of the nearest MPAC local office
           where questions can be answered and concerns addressed in person;
           and

        -  The toll-free phone number for MPAC's Customer Contact Centre.

    -   Property Assessment Notices will be mailed for Ontario's nearly
        4.7 million properties in 2008.

    -   Mailed with the Property Assessment Notice will be:

        -  A brochure explaining how property owners can determine if their
           assessment is accurate and, if they feel it is not, what options
           are available to have it corrected; and

        -  A brochure describing the new Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property
           Tax Grant to help eligible senior homeowners with low and moderate
           incomes pay their property taxes.

    -   An interactive Property Assessment Notice with details on each
        section has been posted on the MPAC website at www.mpac.ca.
    




For further information:

For further information: Marcel Clement, Municipal Relations
Representative, MPAC, (613) 742-1001 extension 2200


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