Jan 13, 2020 presentation to Quinte West Council
The Quinte West Chamber represents 440 businesses and close to 8,000 employees in our community with a membership that encompasses businesses of all sizes and from all sectors of the local economy including the charitable sector.
Thank you for allowing us to take a few minutes to talk about the Commercial Tax Rate in the City and a request to see more transparency in the information included in the tax bills for 2020
Firstly, it is important for the Chamber to recognize the great work that council and staff do to manage the cities assets and services; we know it is through this due diligence Quinte West businesses enjoy the lowest tax rates around with only one exception. (Brighton compared to Trenton ward)
We want to ensure that Quinte West continues to be a business friendly community and are asking Council to consider the impact of the tax ratios on commercial properties especially when these are compounded by increased assessments through MPAC.
- In 2019, the average tax increase for residential properties was 2.87 % and for commercial properties, it was 6.92 %. Some businesses paid more than this and some less but from our own experience at the Chamber, the property tax on our own building in 2019 increased by 6.35%
- Most communities have a higher tax rate for business properties even though there have been many studies done in Canada and the US that show non-residential properties use fewer services and do in fact subsidize municipal services used by the residential sector.
- This is a great benefit to those living in Quinte West as we have a diverse business community here paying commercial and industrial taxes that more than cover their fair share of the tax burden.
- A commercial property in Trenton Ward pays $3157 in taxes for every $100,000 of property value compared to only $1364 on a residential property.
- Going forward, the Quinte West Chamber would ask that council look at adjusting the tax ratios as needed to ensure that annual increases to commercial taxpayers are reasonable. This will ensure that the business environment here remains competitive and businesses are not overburdened.
- We are not going to suggest what a reasonable increase should be as we understand how complex the tax system is but most businesses we surveyed told us that an annual increase of close to 7% was too high and have asked us to bring this issue forward to council.
As far as transparency goes, over half of the businesses surveyed did not know that the average commercial tax increase was going to be $6.92%. Once council sets the final budget, the focus seems to be on the residential tax increase as this affects the majority of property owners in the City and the increases for other classes of properties are not widely advertised.
The Chamber of Commerce would like to work with the City to ensure that businesses receive as much notice as possible on the tax increases they can expect in the coming year. We would also like to encourage the City to produce a more enhanced insert to go in with the tax bills; this could better explain the breakdown of the various components of the tax bill and any changes that have been made. I did share an example of an insert from Kinston with City staff with the hopes that some of the same components could be included in the Quinte West insert.
These changes will allow businesses to plan accordingly for any changes, better understand why the increases were necessary and understand where their tax dollars are going.
On behalf of our member businesses and organizations, I would like to thank you for your time and consideration of this request.
Suzanne Andrews, CEO
Quinte West Chamber of Commerce