MPAC The Great Ontario Scam!


MPAC is what I call an NGO (Non Government Organization). That means it has the right to create law without legislation.

Simply put they are a Government within a Government without voter input. They can add at will to our already existing 500,000 laws without so much as a whisper to our elected officials on a Provincial level.

MPAC’s board of Directors does have representation  from municipal councils and commercial property owners, but not one from the residential sector. They are appointed I submit by their affiliations.

The Ontario ombudsman office, at the time, 2006,  directed by Mr. Andre Marin, conducted an investigation that lasted some five months. “Never in the 30-year history of this office have so many complaints been received in so short a period of about a single public agency” state Mr. Marin. 3,700 complaints in four months.

Mr. André Marin, found that MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) had failed to ensure property owners were provided with sufficient and timely assessment information to help them understand and challenge their property assessments fairly. He also found that MPAC had undermined the integrity of the Assessment Review Board (ARB) process. The ARB is an administrative tribunal under the authority of the Ontario Attorney General, established to hear appeals on property assessments levied by MPAC.

In his report, Getting it Right, the Ombudsman presented 22 recommendations that would:

  • increase taxpayer access to MPAC’s information;
  • improve the accuracy and consistency of property assessments; and
  • improve the fairness and integrity of the appeal process.

The Ombudsman stated sharply that, “there is one fundamental flaw in our assessment system:

if a property owner challenges his assessment in a formal appeal, the onus of proof is on him. Challenging the state’s assessor is a David vs. Goliath mismatch – this is not a match-up, this is a slaughter…Putting the onus on the property owner is anachronistic,   unfair and just doesn’t   make sense.”

The Ombudsman emphasized that MPAC has to accept that, “appraisers are in the guesstimate business”. He therefore recommended that the Ontario government require MPAC to justify its assessments when a property owner makes an appeal to the Assessment Review Board.

Second, the Ombudsman asked the provincial government to review whether the public inter­est in MPAC’s secrecy about its computer program and database outweighs the public interest in full transparency and disclosure. Several submissions had shown that MPAC has resisted sharing information about the computer program and data that it uses in determining its appraisals.

At the end of the day that report got filed and Marin was replaced. Go figure!

The most daunting problem facing owners who challenge their assessments is to discover how these values are deter-mined. What comparable and recent sales were used? What are the assessments on similar properties? We all know that “comparable properties” is almost a fiction in Geor­gian Bay, where there are relatively few sales and where every cottage, point and island is different.

MPAC does not provide any information on the content and structure of the model, nor on how its staff use it. Property owners therefore do not know whether the assessment values are adjusted by the intuition and experience of appraisers. This makes it especially difficult to challenge one’s assessment. The Ombudsman’s report does give detailed attention to this issue; if MPAC responds accordingly, owners should have much more rigorous information on how their assessments are determined.

Theoretically, if every property assessment increased by, say 20 percent, and if the municipality did not increase its budget, there would be no increase in anyone’s tax contribution to the municipal budget.

But education tax is a different matter. The province requires a municipality to collect this tax revenue, which is then distributed across the province according to an education-funding formula. The provincial gov­ernment sets a standard education tax rate that applies to all municipalities across the province. This rate is reduced following each assessment period to offset the provincewide average increase in assessment. But since assessment increases for most it exceeds the provincial average increase by a wide margin, the education tax portion of your property tax will itself be increased—regardless of the local council’s budget plans.

So if for no other reason, it is important to reduce your assessment to reduce the education portion of the property tax. (There are other avenues for your charitable giving to education!) The education tax rate for 2005 was .00296, or $2.96 for each $1,000 of your assessment. For example, on a $300,000 property, the education tax component was almost $900. So for each $10,000 reduction that you might achieve in your property assessment, there would be a reduction of $30 in the education tax, as well as another $60 to $75, depending on the municipality.

Hang on Martha we’re headin for the rhubarb!

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Bruce

Just for grins have a look at the report.

www.ombudsman.on.ca

 

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41 thoughts on “MPAC The Great Ontario Scam!

  1. 2censworth says:

    Right On ! MPAC is arbitrary and virtually inaccessible. We can compare our assessments to our neighbors and easily see major inequities, but just try to fix it. My biggest gripe is that if say 6 neighbors want to pool their assessment concerns and make a single coordinated appeal, MPAC refuses to consider such a combined presentation even though this would provide them with much better input. So as you say, it is a host of Davids against Goliath. They’ll pick us off one at a time. So we shake our heads, mutter our complaints and pay our f^&*ing taxes.

  2. mxyzptlk says:

    Bruce,
    Here are a couple of examples. Someone from the city builds a $350,000 ‘cottage’ next to yours which was built by your grandfather for say $20,000. Guess what your property must be worth at least $250,000.

    You bought a smallhome 40 years ago (some would consider it a cottage, but it is where you raised afamily) for $40,000. Someone from the city pays $175,000 for the neighbouring cottage. Guess what your property must be worth at least $200,000 because you have more lake or river frontage.

    The system is not fair period!!

    kltpzyxm

    • spooner704 says:

      This reminds me of a letter I saw in Cottage Life magazine about 2006/2007 regarding the MPAC fiasco. The writer likened the property tax to someone paying income taxes based on as his next door neighbor the doctor’s rate as he could have been a doctor too. That’s about the size of it.

      • MPAC will not return phone calls, justify anything they assess unless you file an appeal. They ave a review process that they humor you with until the drop dead date expires on an appeall and then they tell you to try again next year.

        Bruce

    • fiftysevenpops says:

      It’s tempting to say the system isn’t fair, but think about what would happen if it wasn’t this way. The municipality needs the same $ amount in revenue, no matter how it’s divided up between its residents. Let’s take your first cottage example, and assume the municipality needs $4,000 in taxes between the two properties… if values were frozen at what you paid for the place ($350k for me, $20k for you), I’m paying $3,784/year in taxes, and you are paying $216/year, just because you’ve had the property in your family for a long time. THAT would not be fair, and it would severely inhibit the real estate market, giving people an enormous incentive to stay put and not move. People get so mad at the idea that MPAC assessed their property higher than last time, but what they don’t realize is that an increase doesn’t cause your taxes to go up unless you increased FASTER than the average property in your area.

      • You make a point but, if the the Boys and Girls at MPAC don’t do their job and over estimate value then you have a problem.
        B the same token if the market crashes and values drop you may ve three to five years before an adjuctment is made assuming the MPAC people do their job.
        At the end of the day if values go down due to market failure they increase the mill rate so we are fighting a loosing battle.
        In the case of Georgian Bluffs they take farm land and make it Rural Residential and you get screwed again. IN the alternative they maybe make you land WetLand or GreenBelt or NEC strip you of your rights of utility and don’t adjust the assessment.
        The only solution is curtail spending and reduce costs.
        Such things as Medical Centers, Plovers and the like are things we don’t need to name but two but the list is endless.
        Bruce

      • amartiannamedsmith says:

        Currently, the assessment methods used by MPAC don’t translate into real world conditions. Property value is raised due to someone else being able to get a high price for their propery when it was sold. No one came to see my property, no one checked it’s value for mortgage purposes, no one asked a real eastate agent what it could be sold for – but my assessed value has skyrocketed with no changes or improvements of any kind.

        MPAC acts like a carpet salesman in a Middle-East market place – set a high price and expect to dicker!

        fiftysevenpops would indicate you are Heinz Sr. which means you’ve been around long enough to know Bruce is right! Mill rates increase if values go down due to market conditions, because of the ever increasing scope and cost of government. Limit government and you limit costs!

        the Martian

      • They are sucking and blowing at the same time!
        MPAC boys and girls don’t do title searches don’t do appraisals.
        They use the Real Estate Sales for comparables but don’t to any research on the comparables.
        It is up to the home onwer to challange within prescribed time frames. If you don’t sucks to be you.
        Gotta get me a job doin that big dough no work.
        Bruce

      • fiftysevenpops says:

        The fact that MPAC trails the economy isn’t really a problem because they do so with all properties, and all that really matters is what your property is worth compared with others. If the market crashed by 20% tomorrow and MPAC made the change to your value the next day, you would still be paying the same in property tax because the municipality would increase the rate to make sure they get the revenue they need.

      • Suck and blow
        Bruce

    • fiftysevenpops says:

      When you go to sell your cottage next year, what are you going to use as a comparable, the $175,000 or the $40,000? Right, I thought so. Why should you be able to use the $175,000 as a comparable, but it’s not fair when MPAC does?

      • amartiannamedsmith says:

        Hate to say it MYX but the man has a point!

        Mike

      • mxyzptlk says:

        Sorry fiftysevenpops, think again, I have lived here for 40 years and have no intention of ever selling my home. You must be a tax assessor. The value of the property should not change until it is sold and the sale price should then be used as the assessed value. Anything else is just an imagined possibility. You should go have another brown pop and then maybe you will come to your senses; either that or you are just another ignorant asshole from the city that has more money than brains…
        kltpzyxm

      • fiftysevenpops says:

        mxy, so you get to keep your $40,000 valuation, and the neighbour who pays $400,000 for his cottage will have to spend 10x the taxes as you? Not only is that completely unfair, but financially it would make it virtually impossible for anybody to afford to move. What you are suggesting is basically that those who move more often have to pay higher property taxes, which is stupid.

  3. amartiannamedsmith says:

    During the last election the only candidate for any position that warned about the MPAC nightmare was Mr. Close. Don’t know that if he had won, things would look a lot different, but they couldn’t look much worse! Not campaigning, just saying!

    the Martian

  4. perplexed2010 says:

    There were many candidates who indicated that MPAC was a concern..some were elected and some not elected either(you can argue individual persons should have been or not..but Close was a loser then and he still is)but how does that change the fact that MPAC does not understand rural Ontario and assesses us as urban territory
    MPAC is beyond the scope of any municipal politician or municipal staff… how they apply mill rates is their call and only that.
    Murdoch would not even take on the issue..he would rather fight for bike lanes on Highway 6(dont get me wrong bike lanes would be nice) but accurate assessments would be better but too tough a fight for him

    so we all fight on one by one and it never ends

    • Here in United Socalist Republic of Ontario, our comarades in Toronto have decreed that Municipal polititians shall do as I say not as I do.
      I want to here what Schmidt has to say on June 9.
      Build bike lanes at 15,000 a click each way so the Toronto tree huggers get a free ride on our dime shove it up the bussiness end of a horse.How can we possibly expect to get lower taxes when we have no say in what is going on here.
      I think we should create our own Country and call it Untario!
      BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
      Bruce

    • amartiannamedsmith says:

      Perp.
      It seems you have taken the bull by the tail and are staring directly at what you think is the problem. Don’t stare too long or you’ll begin to believe you’re right.

      The purpose of EMPAC was to bring sense to the assessment values of property and allow inflation of property values to determine tax increases instead of mill rates.
      That they aren’t good at assessing is typical bureaucratic bungling and needs to be addressed (see the imp’s post). That tax rates at the municipal level still increase is the fault of municipal governments providing a gravy train of grants with other people’s money.

      You can get EMPAC to reduce an incorrect assessment, I did, but taxes still go up when politicians buy your vote with your own money or promote pet projects for political gain. (it seems there’s a good deal on a used bus right now)

      Let go of that bull’s tail, turn it around, look it in the eye and say “no more stupid spending”! Then it will end!

      the Martian

      • And I have a bridge forsale in Sarnia, cheap send me a cheque!
        Appeal of an assesment is a pike dream, values have dropped like a stone yet taxes are the same. Tehy won’t return calls they use bad comparables.
        Yes stupid spending adds to the problem but stupid spend is encouraged with inaccurate assements.
        Bruce

    • amartiannamedsmith says:

      There were many candidates who indicated that MPAC was a concern

      No, there weren’t and I attended every meeting!

      the Martian

      • perplexed2010 says:

        Martian..with your green teeth and ears you are hard to miss..but you were not at every meeting..not the ones I attended…..MPAC was spoken to ..and in some of the coffee sessions as well
        so i know you want to favour Close but he is no my candidate of choice and never will be

        LOL

      • I am going to have a chat with Mr. Close before I take my final stand. So far in viewign him from a distance I am not impressed.
        I didn’t attend all the meetings I should have but have kept tabs. Again so far I am not impressed.
        There is a lot of room for improvement!
        Stating with THE SHEEP GETTING OFF THEIR ASSES AND ATTNED COUNCIL MEETING AND GET OUT TO VOTE.
        baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaD SHEEP!
        Bruce

      • amartiannamedsmith says:

        I wasn’t reffering to your secret meetings, or coffee clubs attended by the faithful – just every all candidate meeting held, in every ward, every time. You should pay more attention to who’s around you!
        I watched and listened and learned and when the votes were counted I knew this place was headed for the dumper!

        There are more buinesses and commercial buildings for sale than this town has ever seen before, and it’s not just people looking to retire.

        You have a council spending money like a drunken sailor, raising taxes and fees, while doing their damndest to stop expansion – of almost any kind! Glad you got what you wanted!

        As for Mr. Close – with this town sadly lacking a supply of Thomas Jeffersons, anyone with a degree in Rural Planning and economic development has to be better than someone who tried to read How to win Friends and Influence People, only to find it too challenging!

        the Martian

  5. 2censworth says:

    Maybe if we all withheld our taxes for a couple of years we could get the attention of Queens park to address the MPAC problem ?? Big Íf’…can’t get even 2 people to agree let alone a significant percentage of us. I guess we suck it up (the wrong assessments) and keep wasting our time bitchin’.

    • I am withholding mine!
      I will pay the interest just to make my point.
      Bruce

      • amartiannamedsmith says:

        Me too! There’s your 2 people 2 cents! Care to join in?

        the Martian

      • geo1671 says:

        Don’t be stupid in witholding your taxes Brucie baby :^( A decade ago,BobPoopRay took Hazel’s suggestion that municipality is losing money on withholding payment of taxes. Legislated interest was 4% yearly. The old fart bag got Ray to increase the penelity to 1 1/2 % per month which is compounded. that is over 20 %/per year
        Go to Ontario Property Tax sales web site-check out the tax arrear propery foreclosures listings.After three years of non payment–Legal fees are added that doubles the tax owings.
        regarding ARB MPAC–,it is ascam and those posters who are negative and side with MPAC–my advice–wake up fools.
        I’d been fighting MPAC for over 10 years and can tell you it’s not an easy job. For Toronto residence–if you do appeal, it gets very dirty, MPAC hires lawyers. The crap that houses in Toronto are undervalued is a myth . Most property MPAC values are flip the coin toss. Here is the scam–back prior to 60′s local Municipal governments were do the tax assessments. turns out one Mayor told his staff to really sockette one land owner to sell out. Province got fed up with many others and passed legislation that Province take over. Sure didn’t take long–MPAC actually non-government co-op,funded by all of Ontario’s municipalities. Members of the board are all politicians. Get this,the higher overall placed tax assessments the more MPAC produces,the more they get to operate from municipalities. Try complaining to the Obadsman now–they don’t do dicksquat :^(

      • Short of arming ourselves and standing our ground there is no solution to the GRAB made against property owners in this Province.
        Everyone talks the talk and nobody does anything. It is out of hand and we pay the price.

        BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
        Bruce

  6. geo1671 says:

    Brucie ! Not quit U right “NOBODY does anything”. Like I said, I have confronted MPAC regions 9/15 and contested all the way up to the ARB hearings and gone after MPAC under freedom of Information and gone to their hearings. I was successful to rat out a certian secret MPAC documents that may be helpfull to the public to understand MPAC’s operations as NOTHING a dunce can not do-fill in the blanks. It’s called the fine tuning report of each individual property. These are not readily given out. Ask, demand get’um.
    What was my fight is all about? MPAC with municipal government’s demands have been purposely over assessing private valley flood plain lands, whereby the owners can not pay the high taxes and then forfiet the lands to the local Conservation Authorties or Municipal governments take over. Due to restrictive legislation, Flood plain /Greenbelt lands are deemed as worthlees because–you can’t do nothing with them,not even build a fence.However, MPAC slaps 100′s of thousands of dollar assessments as if buildable commercial/residential lands. Sad part in fighting MPAC, no politician wants to help or the media and Appeal process at ARB is helpful in getting a reduction–that’s if you do your homework.
    Because MPAC does most of their assessments without visiting the properties– gross under assessments previal. Secret is to find these properties and use them againist MPAC. Tax rolls–some municipal show all their properties with the assessment values and size of lot.on their web site. Most researches require a visit at town/city halls will have the tax rolls. Go down the lists and pick out only the low ball ones with larger lots than yours and go see them and take photos. This neverfails to win at ARB hearings. The other factor is the vicinity percentage increase that is placed on your property–check that MPAC has not jacked up yours more than your neighbours by comparing previous assessment with the updated.You’d be surprized–it varies. Don’t beLIEve the B.S. that MPAC has to prove your assessed value is correct.
    Bruce–it’s a big scam,alot of senior citizens are hurting due to high assesments. It’s going to get worse :^(

    • Good for you! You have got the gonads! The majority just pay and whine!
      I beat them and reversed 4 years of over assesment and got a refund of the over charge with interest.

      Bruce

  7. geo1671 says:

    Reply to 57PoPS– Where have you been in the past 20 years? In Ontario a base figure representing 1948 was used up until the earl 90′s.The MPAC assessed value in dollar sign$ is meaningless.It is just a figure.I bought a old abandoned auto scrap yard–1 acre and 90% is in swamp.MPAC has assessed it at 500,000,municipal taxes for 2010 $12,000. Ouch! Town has down graded to residential.City will not change the existing zoning unless appeal to MPAC/ARB. I paid $80,000 for it.When Impact staff insisted that $500,000 was fair,I offered them the property for $80K–no takers,told me that they were not in the business of buying,
    Market value is a scam.Once a neighbour property gets sold to a sucker and pays big buck$–MPAC computers automatic sock it to the rest.
    In Lewsiston NY, assessment values stay the same if you are a senior citizen of long standing.Do you think it is fair for someone that left George Brown college after two years,who a slaps a figure on your property without your approval?
    Get this,many homeowners have been hurt by unrealistic assessments and the only reason they stew but don’t get off their asses is because property values have gone up because of cheap low interest rates. You wait and see the pain/panic when interest rates go beyond 12% shortly and homes are dime a dozen.And when that does,MPAC will surely take their time for re-assesssment. Let’s get real here, actually you don’t own your home,the municipality does.most single family homes taxes are in the $5000 range,that is $400/month–that is rent Mr. 57pop! Try not paying your taxes and see what happens after 3 years–the landlord will sell your home–lickdee-spiltz and taxes.
    Here is a kicker–all Commericial and industrial properties constructed prior to Market value introduction DO NOT come under Market value. Because alot would go out of business.The stinker is that MPAC ignores in many cases that part of the legislation. What are your thoughts in an old widow barely making a living and lived in her home for over 50 years and hardly using any municipal services ( garbage collection or burden on the sewer system)? Is it fair for her to dish out $5K well the next door has 5 families and assessed the same $5k? I worked for the city 30 years and I know the waste in the whole system. Be prepared-reduce the assessed value because towns/cities are going broke. But never consider reducing staff and needless work projects.
    {:^(

    • Here Here Mr. Speaker!!!
      Bruce

    • fiftysevenpops says:

      Look, I’m not saying the system is perfect or that they don’t make mistakes. Maybe seniors should get a break… I think that’s a good idea. What I am simply saying that going by the most recent sale value, as some here would prefer, would create a HUGE tax on moving/homebuying which would stunt our economy. You’re right that the actual MPAC value is meaningless… i’s all about how it compares with other properties. What MPAC should do is use an index rather than a $ figure, because sticking the $ sign on their assessments creates mass hysteria among the public such as yourself. If my property is overvalued by MPAC by 20% but so are all other properties in my region, what’s the big deal? They could reduce them all by 20% and nobody’s taxes would change.

  8. geo1671 says:

    ready to roll tomorrow–
    -Cost-$125 fee to ARB and $100 fee signing Affidavit
    APPEAL MOTION NOTICE
    Decision released on March 11 2011 ARB file No: 98815
    by J.L Walker Disposition of Motion
    Hearing Number 268571
    ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD

    Between: Appellant G. Aregers and Respondent MPAC Region #9

    In the matter of the: RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE Act
    SECTIONS:146-152
    (made under section 25.1 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act)
    Effective April 1, 2009

    Region: 9 City of Toronto
    i) Tax Roll # 1919-014-130-00100-0000
    Sherway Dr. S/S con 2CST Pt TWP Lot13
    ii) Tax Roll # 1919-014-130-00150-0000
    145 Sherway Dr. S/S con 2 CST Pt TWP Lot13
    Appeal Numbers 1904686, 1994379, 1904687 and 1994380

    Appellant requests a review of Adjudicator J.L. Walker’s final decision on her set assessed values of the above referenced two properties for the periods 2007 and 2008. The adjudicator erred solely upon accepting MPAC’s revised assessed reductions and did not consider appellant’s evidence of actual/factual past and recent comparable land sale values.

    Adjudicator J.L. Walker failed to implement and judicially consider;

    “The Board’s primary mandate is to ensure that properties are assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Assessment Act”.

    Appellant states and the basis of his request for review is that the J.L. Walker has erred, by taking into account that MPAC has not assessed the appealed lands to their actual worth. During the hearings, the appellant brought evidence that there was no professional assessment done in assessing these and other similar hazardous lands and that all values were arbitrary and lacking accountability and bulk assessment figures used.

    On the occasion of the first hearing on this matter, with J.L. Walker, J.L. Walker upheld MPAC solicitor’s objections, that appellant could not relate or use comparables from another MPAC district’s assessments and all evidence related to assessments must be related to MPAC Region 9 only. J.L. Walker refused to consider the fact that the appellant’s comparable properties were adjoining and share the same river. Contrary to her previous ruling, in the final stages of the hearings, she allowed MPAC’s staff, who used and duplicated identical assessment figures per acre solely from Region 15 land sale comparables. It should be noted that the Region 15 sales comparables were from appellant’s previous ARB case. MPAC’s Assessor admitted all his comparable evidence was derived from Region 15 and none from Region 9. He also admitted all the information was given in meetings with MPAC’s Region 15, Mr. Roger Larux. Appellant’s main concern and supporting evidence indicated that most hazardous flood lands are acquired by government agencies at minimal value and purchased only on the basis of necessity.

    Only these aforementioned sale comparables were used to produce their final proposed assessed values. Unfortunately, J.L. Walker accepted these values, without basis, and ignored appellant’s concern on this matter. Appellant brought this to her attention and requested her to reverse her previous decision and allow the appellant to address comparables outside region 9. She refused to disallow and/or condemn MPAC’s use of MPAC’s 15 flawed sale comparables.

    Written/Oral Evidence presented Region 9 & 15: (No Oral was allowed for Region#15)

    I) All Conservation authority Hazardous deemed Lands:
    Assessed $3,200–$4,000/per acre. Mostly acquired at minimal dollars $1-$2

    II) All Municipal/Provincial Hazardous deemed Lands:
    Assessed $400,000–$800,000/per acre. Mostly acquired at minimal dollars
    $1-$2

    MPAC’s witness refused to explain why all Conservation Authority lands were assessed at minimal values but similar lands acquired by municipalities were assed in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per acre. When asked why the discrepancies and the lack of ascribing the actual values of worth, his response was that he does not get in involved in political matters. When further asked why his department puts values on all municipal owned hazardous floodplain lands as if they were developable land, such as the ones appealed, he would not answer. J.L. Walker overlooked this important issue and accepted the reduced MPAC values which are erroneous.

    At this juncture, J.L. Walker refused to allow continued questioning or take notice that the worthless floodplain lands, where evidence proved they were/are acquired gratuitously by CA, and/or Municipal and/or Provincial governments should be assessed according to their true value. When it was brought to her attention these two appealed properties were acquire at minimal values, J.L. Walker stated years have passed and therefore acquire inflation value. She refused to acknowledge that such lands recently acquired, are done so on the basis of, on demand and gratuitously. Restrictive official development policies and private owners are forced to relinquished title due to high assessments and land restrictions.

    J.L. Walker refused the appellant’s request from the MPAC’S witness to address the abnormal differences. Appellant insisted that a realistic value would be $1-$2/acre, however her decision did side unfortunately with MPAC’s unrealistic -/+ $16,000/acre a fabricated assessments to the actual true value.

    Without evidence from MPAC/City solicitors, J.L. Walker accepted MPAC’s notion that all Conservation authority lands are assessed in a lower bracket because they are deemed as Ontario Ministry approved permits and as special Conservation lands, which are given a base reduced amount.
    J.L. Walker did not accept appellant’s contradictory facts pertaining to non special status for Conservation Authority Lands. At the hearings, MPAC’s argument and defense for assessment value of $3,200/acre for Conservation Authority lands was based upon the assertion these lands are classified and approved as Ministry conservation assessment and were therefore given lower rates than comparable municipal/Provincial/private lands. MPAC’s witness, City and MPAC’s Solicitor were adamant the appellant’s use of land assessment comparable values of TRCA and CVCA lands, were considered as approved Ministry and deemed as conservation lands. MPAC did not provide evidence that TRCA and CVCA lands in Region 9 and 15 are ministry approved as licensed conservation lands. Contrary to MPAC’s assertions, appellant brought evidence that the MTRCA and CVCA had made secretive deals in the 1960’s that all their lands would be managed and given full stewardship municipal jurisdictions whereby there is no requirement to pay municipal taxes. This circumvents the mandatory Conservation Authority Act which states that all Conservation Authorities must pay property Taxes.

    Note: The reason for this legislation was to curtail Conservation Authorities abuse if power by acquiring vast tracks of nonessential lands due through their power to issue permits.

    Appellant’s presented that no records of any Conservation properties were ministry approved as conservation lands for tax reduction. All these lands were contracted covertly to circumvent TRACA/CVCA obligation to pay municipal taxes under the guise as sole municipality stewardship. The concern of the appellant, such concern should have been shared by J.L. Walker is that similar lands acquired by CA are arbitrarily assessed/packaged around $3,200/acre. At the other end of the spectrum, identical adjoining lands owned by Municipal are assessed at $250,000 to $500,000/acre and above. Upon questioning, MPAC’S witness would only say that he does not get involved in political matters. J.L. Walker refused to interject and demand clarification on why abnormal differences occur, the lack of professional assessment, and political involvement affect the values of such lands. J.L. Walker would not accept this political interference fact or that most such worthless lands are acquired at minimal value of $1-$2.00 and these actual values should be considered as assessed values. J.L. Walker ignored appellant’s submissions on such recent minimal land sales.

    When presented with factual minimal dollar sale facts, MPAC’s witness and solicitor successfully argued there is always underlying equal trade offs and registered minimal dollar value is a not realistic “true” value. Appellant’s reference to Official Municipal plans which states, all deemed flood plan lands must be conveyed, on a gratuitous basis, to the municipality or conservation authority without compensation to the owner, was ignored. J.L. Walker’s final decision does not reflect to the appellant’s evidence presented. The appellant’s unfaltering position has been if the majority of lands are transferred/purchased, at minimal values, MPAC’s assessment should reflect this and they have a requirement to comply with the Assessment Act.

    Assessment Act requires that the test be one of what a property would sell for “on the open market between a willing seller and a willing buyer. “So sales must be at arms-length in an open market. A related concept is that the final current value will reflect the “highest and best use’ of a property.

    It should have been readily apparent to J.L. Walker MPAC is not abiding to it’s mandated legislated practices. The only “takers” of worthless flood lands are municipal/CA agencies. This was brought to the attention to J.L. Walker, but was not considered. J.L. Walker consistently took the lead from MPAC/Toronto City’s solicitors and rarely took concerns from the appellant.

    With respect to the Ministry of Transportation property, J.L. Walker refused to allow two stamped official soil engineers’ reports. These reports studied the entire site and concluded that the dump site was very hazardous. J.L. Walker overlooked the fact that these reports were obtained through a Freedom of Information Request and were originally requisitioned by the Ministry itself. J.L. Walker’s incorrectly contended that the both engineers must personally attend the hearing as appellant’s witnesses and disallowed the engineered reports. Prior to appellant request of the engineers’ reports, MPAC had summoned a staff from M.O.T as a witness, knowledgeable of the hazardous dumpsite conditions and related engineers’ reports. This staff member was scheduled to appear as a witness to elaborate upon the MOT landfill dump site. Once the appellant was in receipt of the engineers’ soil reports, through MOT’s office, the witness reneged to appear in the hearings. J.P Walker erred in not accepting the engineering reports. Costs associated with hiring 3 engineers as witnesses, time/travel from Ottawa and return was prohibitive. J.L. Walker should have considered this and allowed the introduction of these engineering reports.

    This tribunal is not a criminal proceeding and allowances are made within the ARB Act. Appellant and the engineer reports contention was that millions of dollars would be needed to rehabilitate these potentially very hazardous lands. The arbitrary MPAC assessment value of $1,338,000 is a serious inaccuracy. The lands involved are mostly hazards flood zoned lands which are known to be contain vast amounts of buried industrial waste and highway sweepings. None of this was taken into account by J.L. Walker or MPAC’s final arbitrary factious assessment.

    J.L. Walker refused to interject when the MPAC’s witness, who could not provide a breakdown of the $1,338,000 assessed value by setting separate portions of the hazardous flood plain lands. The final accepted land value does not separate table and flood plain lands which the appellant was requesting and made issue at the final hearing which was ended abruptly. MOT had acquired these once privately owed lands at a minimal dollar value. The assessed value, accepted by J.L Walker, was unsubstantiated as MPAC presented four unrelated comparable industrial site values. These four unrelated comparable industrial sites were neither vacant or dump sites and were not located in close proximity to the subject MOT dump site. J.L. Walker did not refuse to accept these unrelated MPAC’s comparables and or require MPAC’s staff revamp their erroneous assessment figures.
    During the appeal process, it was highlighted MPAC lacked professionalism. This is contrary to MPAC’s claim it “administers a uniform, province-wide property assessment system based on current value assessment in accordance with the provisions of the Assessment Act”. Time and time again, J.L. Walker allowed MPAC to circumvent their legislative duty with little regard to getting it right.

    The Ombudsman presented 22 recommendations to:
    i) increase taxpayer access to MPAC’s information;
    ii) improve the accuracy consistency of property assessments; and
    iii) improve the fairness and integrity of the appeal process
    J.L. Walker frequently lamented the case had gone way too long and it was abruptly ended. At or about 12:00 noon, the Adjudicator gave the appellant a 30 minute deadline with a mandate to close by 12:30 PM. Appellant was not given sufficient time to present evidence and rebuttal.

    Appellant’s endeavored, unsuccessfully, to introduce for J.L. Walker’s consideration, Assessment figures set for Conservation Authorities are intentionally low in case they will be obligated to pay property taxes, per legislation requirement. Appellant highlighted at the hearings, a primary driver for MPAC to attribute unrealistically high assessment values on City/Province ownership lands is to support/substantiate high assessed values placed or could be placed on privately held river/lake hazardous valley lands.

    The appellant is of the opinion J.L. Walker erred and/or did not consider all of the salient facts in arriving at the final decision and seeks another fair hearing,

    Appellant seeks a timely, fair and unbiased hearing. J.L. Walker accused appellant of “dragging out the case”, yet it took her 6 months to submit a final report. J.L. Walker final decision does not serve the public’s interest. J.L. Walker should have had given thought and consideration to a ordinary lay person and citizen, with no legal expertise, trying to resolve unjustifiable assessment values by MPAC.

    It was very daunting to try and provide J.L. Walker with information there is a serious problem with MPAC’s lackadaisical, unfair and secretive practices. MPAC‘s offer of a reduction does not unequivocally mean the new assessments are right and should not be questioned.

    In reviewing J.L. Walker’s final ARB decision, one can conclude J.L. Walker accepted MPAC’s new lower figures, without due consideration of any of the appellant’s evidentiary submissions. It was readily apparent that once MPAC submitted their revised assessment, J.L. Walker’s decision was “etched in granite” and no evidence or arguments provided by appellant would be considered.

    “Persons who have filed a complaint to the ARB, have the opportunity at a hearing to show the Board, through evidence, why they believe the assessed value is incorrect. “

    i) Appellant’s evidence was disallowed and what was accepted was not considered
    ii) Appellant was not given the opportunity to be heard and was abruptly cut off at the occasion of the final hearing date.

    Appellant has discussed the finding with legal persons who were dismayed J.L Walker would not allow certain evidence or had not confronted MPAC’s witness (being an expert on hazardous lands). Moreover, the lack of questioning or understanding as to why excessive assessment of multi-million dollars has been placed on valueless government lands. There was no inquiry or request for clarification when a witness’s response was “does not get involved in political decisions”. The onus to prove or support values was placed upon appellant. This was a requirement in the previous legislation. MPAC argued that the new legislation does not apply to old cases, which appellant disagrees.

    Appellant is desirous of an amicable resolution and is requesting a new hearing. One hopes that the answers to the daunting questions, why has MPAC consistently placed over assessments on Municipal/Provincial rated worthless lands, and to what end? In the case before us, two similarly sized adjoining, hazard properties have differing assessments, one at approximately $12,000 and the other at $800,000. This fundamental question was presented to J.L. Walker. MPAC has avoided answering the question and was aided by J.L Walker.

    Copies to………………………

    April 7, 2011

    Assessment Review Board April 7 2011
    655 Bay Street, Suite 1500
    Toronto, ON M5G 1E5
    Attention: Mr. Richard F. Stephenson Chairman ARB

    RE: APPEAL MOTION NOTICE
    Decision released on March 11 2011 ARB file No: 98815

    Dear Mr. Stephenson:

    I am requesting reconsideration of the above referenced case.

    You may have an awareness of similar ARB cases wherein MPAC has ascribed excessive assessments to property values and MPAC’s inability to corroborate same.

    For over ten years, this has been a standard operation procedure adopted by MPAC, and there is no indication MPAC will, under any circumstances, amend or revisit this unjust practice. On closer examination, MPAC’s inordinately high, and unsubstantiated, assessment values bear no relationship to the actual sales price or consideration given. In a free market, the selling price represents the fair market value of a property. MPAC’s deliberate practice of ascribing high unsubstantiated assessment values on hazardous lands is a purposeful and calculated strategy. There is no impetus for MPAC to amend its ways.

    Recent cases have time and time again supported the fact that MPAC still maintains and operates under a seriously flawed policy. The only action which will spur MPAC to concede is when confronted and these assessments are contested before ARB tribunal. Given the numerous instances of appeals experienced by MPAC, this should compel MPAC to implement safe guards or alter their policies/processes to ensure assessments are fair, and more importantly, justifiable. MPAC’s inertia

    I have sought legal advice from my solicitor is also at a loss to understand the why’s and how worthless lands pegged at bulk values are reassessed in the millions of dollars when ownership of the lands transfers to a municipality.

    To correct this unbalance, MPAC has advise me, I should put an appeal on the thousands in that category.

    As the Adjudicator of this case refused to accept or permit me to provide evidence of the worthlessness of these hazardous lands is the primary reason I am seeking your consideration and assistance. The lack of concern or action to seek understanding or clarification by J.L. Walker vis-à-vis the incongruity of sales price to assessed values is very disconcerting. It is apparent, from various ARB cases, once MPAC proposes a reduction in assessment, notwithstanding the assessments continued to be flawed and unsubstantiated, your staff stymies the process and ignores an appellant’s submissions and exhibits. Simply put, appellant should be satisfied by receiving a reduction; therefore, to continue is redundant. Secondly, J.L. Walker disallowed appellant’s introduction of engineering reports insisting the authors of the reports be in attendance.

    A widely known, and not well kept, secret amongst Municipal planning departments is the worthlessness of these lands as evidenced by the purchase or “consideration” prices of these municipally owned lands. At ARB hearings, it has been revealed over 98% of such land transfers were registered for minimal monitory payments. Again, free market dictates and there is no correlation to revised assessed values to the minuscule amounts paid. A major reduction does not make the assessment accurate.

    The only way to resolve this matter is to reopen the case. Reopening the case would deal with the reasons MPAC does NOT use actual sales to come up with assessed values for hazardous flood plain lands.

    Much time has been spent on gathering facts through the Freedom of Information Act, the only conduit available to me. Even though chastised by J.L. Walker for deliberately protracting the proceedings, her decision took six months.

    Please consider my request for another hearing. I believe 5he issues are straight forward.

    My solicitor is willing to represent me on this matter.

    Thank you.

    Yours truly,

    George Aregers
    1671 Brentano Blvd
    Mississauga, ON
    L4X1A7
    ASSESSMENT REVIEW BOARD

  9. 2censworth says:

    So how does everyone like their new 2013-2016 assessments?

  10. jojo archers says:

    Geo1671 -Appeal on a Springwater property Oct 18/13. Bought property for $151K MPAC says $403K. Willing to reduce to $227K. Whole MPAC figures are rigged. Coming out now with hired legal reprsentives to challenge the home owner, Can not ask the assessor any questions. Try a test–head office phone numbers–and local offices–off limits. Call center–blocking enterprize-bunch of clerks answering questions-useless.
    Presented with a slick folder– over 480 sales listings–all in the range of their assumed asssessment of $227K–all over $225K. Requested sales under–no luck.
    Folks, MPAC has hired contractors to road block all avenues to get information from them.They depend on internet’s MPAC info BS.
    This notion that after 2009 appeals that it’s up to MPAC to prove the values placed is not true–they use their cherry picked sales data and lots of luck in winning.
    MPAC has blocked access to it’s head and local offices. Try calling the only one number and ask for Larry Hummel’s phone number

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