• John Jantak and Carmen Marie Fabio

MRC property valuations


PHOTO BY MONIQUE BISSONNETTE

A number of residents in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region have begun receiving their triennial property assessments and some are questioning the validity of the increases.

Some residents in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region are questioning their recent property assessments that, in some cases, have increased home values and ensuing tax bills substantially.

Hudson resident Jennifer Baumeister said she has trouble understanding how her land value has increased by 35 per cent putting a value on her home that she said is unrealistic. “There’s no way my house is worth that much,” she said of the over $400,000 valuation considering her lot of over 20,000 square feet lies partially in a ravine.

Baumeister maintains her Maple Street home and property have been over-assessed since she bought the house. “I fought it once and they brought it down a little bit.” She said almost all neighbouring properties are assessed between $1400 to $1500 per square foot with most of the older structures falling in the $1100 range.

Property owners in Vaudreuil-Dorion have also seen the valuation of homes increase by an average of $50,000, but to offset the increase the city lowered the city’s mill rate, the amount of tax charged per each $100 of assessment, from $0.6690 in 2015 to $0.6100 in 2016, resulting in a tax increase of about $14 for the average home.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the city has strived to consistently lower the mill rate each year since he was elected mayor in 2005 when the mill rate was more than $0.9000 per each $100 of assessment. “The reason why we did this is because of the continuing increase in the value of people’s houses. People should be happy about the increase in valuation,” said Pilon.

“When the valuation goes up and the tax rate goes down, it means when you go to borrow money, you can borrow more money because of the higher valuation,” Pilon added. “The worst thing that can happen to homeowner is when the valuation goes down. It’s always good when valuations go up, that that means the city must lower their tax rate accordingly.”

But in neighbouring St. Lazare which has seen the average tax bill rise by over four per cent this year, the valuation increase has caused consternation among many residents who said they cannot continue to absorb this type of hefty increase that the town has imposed in recent years.

Residents are also upset because they feel the recent MRC valuation role for the municipality does not take into account problems that individual homeowners face with foundation problems that could cost up to $60,000 to repair.

Because of these problems and the cost associated with the repair work that is necessary before a house is put up for sale to make it marketable, many of the town’s homeowners are calling on the town to revise individual valuations downwards for houses with problems to take into account the repair work that is required.

Mayor Robert Grimaudo told residents at the last council meeting in early February that if residents would like their properties reassessed, they need the contact the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges. But a recent query made by Your Local Journal to MRC-VS Communications Director Simon Richard, indicated that residents should directly contact the valuation firm that does the assessments for all 23 municipalities with the MRC.

Grimaudo said while it would make perfect sense to have the towns valuating their respective citizens’ homes, it falls under the mandate of the provincial government. Only larger communities like Montreal, who have their own charter, are in charge of home valuations.

The Montreal firm Les Estimateurs professionnels Leroux, Beaudry, Picard and Associés, which has an office located in Vaudreuil-Dorion, does all the property valuations for the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region said Jacques Therrien, a technician at the regional branch.

“When we do evaluations like this, we do one thousand at a time and we don’t have the time to see which individual houses may have foundation or other problems,” said Therrien. “Unless the valuation firm is informed by homeowners that have an issue with their houses, it’s impossible to provide an accurate assessment that takes into consideration their various problems.”

Rather than contacting the MRC de Vaudreuil-Soulanges, anyone who wishes to contest their property is urged to contact the firm itself, said Therrien. People must provide information related to their specific issues when applying for a reassessment which will then be reviewed by the firm and an evaluator will be sent to visit each individual property to accurately assess the situation, including taking pictures.

Anyone who wants their property to be reassessed should call the offices of Leroux, Beaudry, Picard and Associés at (450) 510-1771. It is extremely important to note that that all requests for a re-valuation must be made by April 30 otherwise the original assessment will be final until the next valuation is done in three years time.

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