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Toronto Loft Conversions

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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

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Average Toronto home appraisal up 22%

Miller critics seek to halve property tax hike

By Jennifer Lewington and Jeff Gray – Globe and Mail

In a long-shot bid to derail Toronto Mayor David Miller’s 2009 budget, his critics on council will call for a 2% property tax hike – half of what he says is needed to steer the city through the recession.

Yesterday, as the executive committee approved the $8.7-billion operating budget that heads to a council vote in early April, the dozen or so members of the centre-right coalition boycotted the meeting, calling it a “rubber-stamp” of Mr. Miller’s fiscal measures.

At a press conference, his council critics will suggest cutting the mayor’s proposed 4% residential property tax increase in half to 2% and trimming $40-million in spending to do so.

“We wanted to take a responsible approach and not to grandstand but provide some alternatives,” said Case Ootes (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth), a deputy mayor under former Mayor Mel Lastman.

The attack on Mr. Miller’s budget marks the first co-ordinated move by council’s long-disorganized minority, which has had trouble landing a major blow against him since briefly stalling his introduction of controversial new taxes in 2007.

The mayor’s critics concede they don’t have the votes to win the day on the budget, but note 2010 is an election year that could bring on a right-wing challenger to Mr. Miller when he runs for a third term.

“As we go into next year the political dynamics begin to change,” says councillor Brian Ashton (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest), who describes himself as a “quiet critic” of the mayor. “Can we set a political pattern that will set the stage for someone to run who is prepared to run against the mayor?”

This year, Mr. Miller’s budget would raise $83-million in additional property taxes – 4% from homeowners and an average of 1.3% from businesses – to pay for rising welfare case loads, growth in transit ridership and $23-million in expanded services, including longer library hours to help those looking for work.

But the critics say the city is spending beyond its means and would slash some of the 1,049 additional staff (some funded by the city and others by other governments) suggested for the 2009 budget.

“If you decide not to spend new money this year, the tax increase does not have to be 4%,” said councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore).

Like others critics, he contends the city’s finances are unsustainable because of reliance on one-time funds from the province to balance the books.

The city heads into its 2010 budget cycle facing a shortfall of $350-million to $400-million.

They also plan to urge a wage freeze for all Toronto employees – bargaining is under way between the city and its two civic unions – not just for non-union officials as suggested this week by the mayor.

But Mr. Ootes said his group has no plans to cut city services, nor would they touch the freeze of TTC fares announced earlier by the mayor or reverse a planned roll-out of expanded bus service this year.

After the executive committee, Mr. Miller defended his budget, saying it will cut taxes for small business and tenants and improve public transit.

“We’re making targeted investments in the future of this city. … We’re being very, very careful in what we’re asking property taxpayers to do in Toronto,” he said.

He also points to city numbers that show Toronto single-family homeowners face much lower tax rates than those in the 905.


Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

One Response to Average Toronto home appraisal up 22%

  1. Certified Appraiser says:

    Vaulted ceilings and other types of optional features can have an effect on the appraised value of your home. The home appraisal process begins when an appraiser determines the base value of your home based on factors such as its size, age, location and the materials used to build it. Having calculated a base value, the appraiser takes into account features such as vaulted ceilings before completing the valuation process.

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