Toronto homeowners, prepare for property tax increase

Homeowners in Toronto could be on the hook for a 2.25-per-cent increase in property taxes if Mayor John Tory’s first budget passes in March.The City of Toronto’s Budget Committee earlier this week began the budget process to review the 2015 staff recommended tax supported and rate supported budgets. The goal of the budgets is to deliver service improvements in areas such as transit, poverty reduction and public safety, the City says.

“Toronto’s 2015 budget is focused on getting Toronto moving, putting families first and keeping taxes low,” Tory said in presenting the budget. “This budget is about investing in better transit, better housing, more jobs and an end to the gridlock that is choking our streets – all while maintaining property taxes below the rate of inflation.”The proposed operating budget is $11.5 billion, with a proposed budget tax increase of 2.25 per cent. The budget is dependent on $86 million in provincial assistance related to the loss of provincial housing grants. The City continues to have discussions with the Province to secure the necessary funding in the coming weeks.The 2015 Staff Recommended Capital Budget and Plan is $31.7 billion and includes $1.6 billion in new capital investments to maintain the city’s transportation network, public transit and shelter, support and housing. The capital budget and plan continues to fund the two largest transit investments, the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension and the Scarborough Subway Extension.

For homeowners, the increase in property taxes will amount to an additional $58.66 per household, based on the average house assessment of $524,833.Even with the proposed increase, residential property taxes in Toronto are the lowest among large urban centres in Ontario, the City says.The budget is to be put to a final vote by City Council on March 10 and 11.

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