Tax burden doesn’t add up

Dear editor and residents of Fort Frances

I have concerns regarding the article which appeared in your April 12 edition of the Times entitled “Budget will see residential tax rate increase by 4.78 percent.”

My last assessed value was $297,000 so I used the $300,000 assessment value in my calculations. The article states that an assessed value of $300,000 would see an increase to tax bill of $287.30 bringing the total bill to $5839.52. So, I wondered why I would have paid $5931.07 for 2022. I called the town with this concern and as I assumed, the total stated in the article did not include our education levy. Taxes for 2023 for a 300,000 assessment will actually be more than $6200.00.

Being curious and expecting accountability, I did some calculations, using my 2022 tax bills. It turns out that based on the municipal taxes and excluding the education tax, our municipal tax increase is going to be more like a 5.2% increase. I think the article details are somewhat misleading. Has this also happened in previous years?

Sometimes people need to just speak up instead of being complacent. I know that a lot of people were concerned when our town adopted a new branding policy and introduced the “Fort Frances Boundless” concept. How many tax payer dollars were spent to change all the town vehicle logos, change east and west town welcome signs, all letterhead and other items we do not know about, as well as consultant fees to conjure up this boundless concept to attract tourists to our area. When the people of Fort Frances see tax increases, it only makes sense that we should express our concerns about wasted tax payer dollars. 

I would like to challenge the Times to do an article on municipal, residential tax rates for other towns in NWO, including Kenora, Dryden, Atikokan, Sioux Lookout etc. , preferably for the year 2023. If not available yet, then perhaps using the 2022 rates. And, a comparison in dollar value per $100,000 of assessed value would be very helpful for comparison. I tried to google this on my own but the numbers are very confusing. As well, the rate may seem close in numbers and yet have a substantial difference in actual dollars for taxes owed.

This is my first ever letter to the editor. Thank you for your space and time, and thank you in advance for your attention to the topic of residential tax rates for comparison.

Cindy Gauthier

Editor’s note: In the Times’ reporting of the Municipal Budget meeting, the figures provided for the calculation of comparative residential tax rates, as well as the slide the information was taken from, only factored in the municipal tax rate and did not include the education tax rate in its calculations. The Times apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.