MPAC error to cost Smiths Falls $1 million

Posted on: November 20, 2017

Chris Must

What one town councillor called a “flawed system” has the town of Smiths Falls paying former County Fair Mall owners RioCan Properties $1 million after the company successful appealed the assessed value of the property.
“It is extremely painful,” commented Mayor Shawn Pankow after town Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris provided a report on the situation at a Nov. 20 council meeting. “We had hoped the outcome would be different.”

Morris reported that the assessed value of the mall property peaked in 2014 at over $15 million. The former Target store moved into the mall at the end of 2013, boosting its value. Property taxes paid by the mall owners, including school board taxes, went from a total of $457,000 in 2014 to $701,585 in 2015. Property values for the purpose of taxation in Ontario are determined by MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

RioCan applied to the Assessment Review Board (ARB) to have the mall’s assessed value for the tax years 2013 through 2016 reduced. The independent adjudicative body has since determined that the property was “overvalued,” and its re-assessed value should be reduced to $9.5 million in 2013, $6.9 million in 2014, $4.8 million in 2015 and just $3.2 million in 2016. In late 2016 the property was purchased by the Saumure Group and has recently been renamed “Settlers Ridge Centre.”

Not only does the town have to refund taxes paid by RioCan, but is facing much lower revenue from this commercial property in future years, reported Morris.

“We are bringing this forward because the numbers are extremely impactful for the town,” said Morris. He added that the town’s strategy for dealing with the situation involves “using surpluses from the current budget and some other financing as well.” Although no money will have to be borrowed to pay the property tax refund, this will leave the town’s reserves depleted.

“Certainly the process is flawed,” said Councillor Chris Cummings, suggesting that the town should lobby the provincial government to make necessary changes to prevent such a situation from occurring again. “We find out years later we owe money for something we didn’t evaluate in the first place.”

“We do have the reserves to draw upon for exactly this reason,” said Pankow. “We’ll get through this.”
“This was a mistake with MPAC, and I don’t think we should be afraid to say that,” commented Councillor Dawn Quinn.

3 thoughts on “MPAC error to cost Smiths Falls $1 million

  1. Ivan Schroeder

    MPAC needs to be investigated this kind of stuff goes on with private homes. I am mot sure where they get people to asses property nit I think they need to better train them.
    This should not be acceptable Smiths Falls should appeal this.

  2. D. Smith

    This was no mistake!

    This was intentional fraud in order to get MPAC managers performance bonuses after thier salary frezze in about 2009.
    It’s time to send in your Holiday Letter

    With the festive season approaching, it won’t we too long until that jolly old elf starts making his rounds, rewarding all employees who’ve been good for the last year…or in this case, the last two years.

    We have attached a letter you can sign and send to your manager asking him or her to help make your holiday wishes come true.

    Please take the time and get those letters in. No one wants any coal this year!

    Dear MPAC,

    With the festive gift-giving season fast approaching, I want to make sure I get in the good word so I won’t be disappointed for the holidays.

    I have been a very good employee these past two years. I took a wage increase of zero and zero for two years, and that sure made MPAC look good to YOUR bosses!

    I did that for you without even having any labour disruptions. In fact, I have tried my best to keep MPAC completely out of the public eye so none of our bosses would get caught in an uncomfortable situation.

    Instead, I have met and even exceeded my Key Performance Indicators, which was a great help to all my favorite managers who got their bonuses for the hard work I did.

    Throughout all of this, I have remained professional, courteous and got the job done!

    This year, because I’ve been so good, I would like to ask that you pay special attention to my wish list. After all, I feel I deserve some extra attention after a couple of years of making sacrifices for the Corporation. I sure would hate to get distracted with messy labour relations issues in the new year, especially when we are going to be so busy.

    Your friend,
    A Very Good Employee

  3. Pingback: No tax increase in first draft of Smiths Falls budget but expect others - Hometown News

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