St. Lazare resident complains about 25 per cent property valuation increase
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
St. Lazare council advised all residents who want to contest their property valuations to apply directly in person at the Municipalité Régionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges headquarters, 420 Avenue St. Charles in Vaudreuil-Dorion. The deadline is April 30.
The formula for determining property valuations was brought into question by a St. Lazare resident during the Tuesday council meeting on March 1. Resident Alan Nicol voiced his concern about possible inconsistencies in how homes are evaluated because of the variation in valuation increases among property owners who live on the same street.
Nicol, who owns a home on a private road, told council that that even though he and three other homeowners do not receive municipal services such as snow clearing and leaf and branch pickup, they each received varying valuation increases. Nicol’s property assessment increased by 25.4 per cent and his 2016 property tax bill rose almost 19 per cent as a result.
When Mayor Robert Grimaudo told Nicol that the assessors “...didn’t pull the numbers out of the sky,” Nicol replied, “I think they did. There are four houses on my street. One person’s taxes went up 2.5 per cent, another went up four per cent, the third went up 14 per cent and mine increased 18.8 per cent.
“There have been no renovations or rebuilds done in the last 20 years,” Nicol added. “It’s funny that out of the four houses on our road, each one has a different valuation. There’s something wrong with the system. I think their formula for evaluating properties is a little bit wrong."
Nicol noted the 18.8 per cent hike in his municipal property tax bill is about five times higher than the average 4.3 per cent increase for St. Lazare that was announced when council adopted the town’s 2016 budget in December.
“You’re valuation went up substantially, obviously,” said Grimaudo. “I’m not saying whether your valuation is correct or incorrect. I’m just saying this particular increase is because of the high increase in valuation. The MRC evaluates homes every three to five years and you can actually contest the valuation.”
Grimaudo said that Nicol’s tax increase is based on the new valuation role that was provided to the Municipalité Rgionale de Comté (MRC) de Vaudreuil-Soulanges by Leroux, Picard, Beaudry & Associés, the property assessment firm that does the valuations for 19 of the 23 municipalities within the MRC.
When Nicol said the town made a mistake with the assessments which resulted in some homeowners receiving substantial tax increases that the town benefits from financially, Grimaudo replied that the town has nothing to do with property assessments and that taxes are based on the valuation role provided by the MRC.
District 2 Councillor Pamela Tremblay said the valuation process involves an assessor who visits homes. If a homeowner isn’t present, documentation is left at the door that allows homeowners to do a self-assessment and submit the documents.
“If for some reason there was something that was left at the door and blew away in the wind or something else happened, then the assessors are only going to go by factors like market value. You can also have your home re-evaluated and, at that point, the valuation might be brought down. It’s possible. You assume there was a mistake and maybe there is one. We don’t know,” said Tremblay.
Some homeowners in neighbouring Hudson and Rigaud have also complained about higher than average property valuations. A special public information meeting is scheduled on March 8 for Hudson residents who want to find out more about the valuation process and how to contest an assessment.
Homeowners who want to contest their assessments, especially if there is a situation that could impact the value of a home such as foundation problems, they must apply in-person to the MRC headquarters at 420 Avenue St. Charles in Vaudreuil-Dorion to have their properties re-evaluated before the April 30 deadline.
It’s important to note that residents living in L’Île-Perrot, Pincourt, Sainte-Marthe, and Vaudreuil-Dorion, should contact their respective city halls if they want to contest their property valuations. More information is available at tinyurl.com/jbaptql.