• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion mayor says high property valuations are good for residents

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon replied to a resident’s concern about a 40 per cent property valuation increase by saying higher home valuations is advantageous for property owners because it means they can get more money for their houses when they are put on the market for sale.

A seemingly exorbitant 40 per cent increase in property valuation prompted Vaudreuil-Dorion resident André Bourbonnais to ask Mayor Guy Pilon about the criteria used by property assessors to determine a house’s value during the Monday evening council meeting on March 8.

“I never had a visit by done an assessor to check the inside or outside of my house and neither did my two neighbours,” Bourbonnais told council. “What criteria do the assessors use to say that my house has suddenly increased in value by 40 per cent from the previous year?”

Pilon replied that one of the best ways to determine the value of a property is to take an overview of sales which indicates the desirability of a district and that the assessors do try to visit each home.

While the newly developed sectors of Vaudreuil-Dorion have seen nominal valuation increases since the residential boom began 10 years ago, older parts of the city, especially properties that have large lots, have had higher increases than the average in the current valuation role because the availability of land is becoming scarcer, said Pilon.

The increase in home valuations is also advantageous for property owners because it means they can get more money for their houses when they are put on the market for sale, Pilon said. In order to compensate for the increase, the city lowered its mill rate by about five cents to $0.061 per $100 of valuation in its 2016 budget to offset the increase in tax bills.

“People have to understand that when valuations go up, it’s very good news because that means a property is worth more,” Pilon told Your Local Journal. “The bad thing about it is that even though we cut the mill rate to take into account the average home price, people are still always going to pay a bit more in taxes You can’t have it both ways.

“No one likes to pay taxes but people are very happy to put a for sale sign in front of their house to see how much it’s worth,” added Pilon. “A house that was worth $250,000 is now valued at around $320,000 so we are very happy about that.”

The increase in valuation also means that long-term homeowners will be able to rely on a larger nest egg if they decided to downgrade from their current homes and move into a smaller condo unit. “For a lot of people it’s good news because for those who have a pension or retirement fund, the house is a part of the plan,” said Pilon.

“The worst thing that can happen to a town is when property valuations go down,” said Pilon, citing the northern Quebec municipalities of Sept-Îles and Val d’Or that have seen a significant downturn in their economies what resulted in lower property values. “These towns are dying,” said Pilon. “I’m going to tell you for the last time, the fact that homes rise in valuation is a good sign and good especially for the owner.”

Treasurer Marco Pilon said Évimbec Ltée is the firm does the assessments for Vaudreuil-Dorion and that the city is not involved in the assessment process. “They are independent evaluators,” he said. “We gave them the contract for five years after a call for tender in 2012.

“They have to perform their job independently from the city and are regulated by the Ministère des affaires municipales and they have to adhere to the Loi de fiscalité municipale. They have to follow a lot of regulations to calculate the valuation of a property,” said Marco Pilon.

Residents who wish to contest their property valuations should the visit the city’s finance department to discuss their situation, pick up the necessary forms if required and return them by April 30. For more information, visit the Vaudreuil-Dorion website at: http://www.ville.vaudreuil-dorion.qc.ca/services-aux-citoyens/evaluation-fonciere.html.