THUNDER BAY — At first glance, the statistics released by Ontario's Municipal Property Assessment Corporation appear to indicate Thunder Bay experienced solid growth this year in terms of new construction and building renovations.
But an examination of recent history shows 2020 wasn't so good for the city after all.
MPAC is the agency that assesses and classifies all properties in Ontario, producing data that municipalities take into account in calculating property tax rates each year.
In a report this month, it said Thunder Bay picked up just under $58 million in new assessment this year.
That was second in Northern Ontario only to Greater Sudbury, but the nickle city finished the year way ahead of Thunder Bay, with new assessment totalling about $106 million.
Furthermore, Thunder Bay saw some decreases in assessment related mainly to appeals by property owners, leaving a net taxable assessment growth of $47.8 million.
City Treasurer Linda Evans says that, compared with the last several years, 2020 "is not a good year".
Evans said the five-year average net taxable assessment growth in the city is just over $89 million, or nearly twice this year's figure.
This year's net growth will generate new tax revenue of $465,000.
Although that will help offset tax levy increases for existing taxpayers, Evans notes that the five-year average annual growth in tax revenue due to increased assessment (2015 to 2019) is more than twice that, at $1.2 million.
New assessment in 2020 in Northern Ontario's largest cities:
Greater Sudbury – $105.8 million
Thunder Bay – $57.8 million
Sault Ste. Marie – $31.3 million
North Bay – $22.2 million
Timmins – $21.7 million
Kenora – $10.3 million
Source: Municipal Property Assessment Corporation