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April 2017 - BWG Matter

Bradford West Gwillimbury (BWG) is an important part of Simcoe County. We recognize and are also experiencing the growth and service demands in BWG, which has seen a population increase of 26% from 2011 to 2016. While BWG appears to have initiated a formal process to review its current governing framework as a member municipality within the County of Simcoe, this matter is being driven by BWG directly, and therefore it is extremely premature for the County to comment on potential outcomes.

 However, we have noticed some incorrect statements and wish to ensure that residents have accurate information related to County tax ratios, services and investments.

Collection of Taxes:

At the County level, our view is that we are one border, united as 16 member municipalities as well as the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Each lower-tier municipality, including BWG, collects the County's tax levy from residents directly, however the County portion of the levy is completely separate from the lower tier municipal portion and supports County services and programs.

The percentage of the County's tax levy on the full municipal tax in BWG is consistent with the average percentage across the County.

Municipality% of County Tax Levy (2016)
Bradford West Gwillimbury27%
County of Simcoe average28%

Clarifying Tax Ratios:

Residents of BWG do NOT pay double the tax rate than our other 15 member municipalities. In fact, all of our 16 member municipalities pay the SAME County tax rate per $100,000 home value, meaning each property in Simcoe County contributes to the County's services of $295 per year per $100,000 home value. Thus a property in the north area of Simcoe County such as Midland or Penetanguishene valued at $500,000, would pay an identical County tax amount as a $500,000 property in BWG, Clearview, Severn, Tiny or Innisfil.

Municipality (sample from 16)County taxes paid by property value (2017)
$300,000 property value$500,000 property value
Bradford West Gwillimbury$885$1,475
Severn$885$1,475
Penetanguishene$885$1,475
Tiny$885$1,475
Clearview$885$1,475
Innisfil$885$1,475

Lower-Tier Municipal Taxation:

The same principle of home value assessment applies within BWG as it does within the County.  Various Wards or areas of BWG will ultimately contribute different percentages of BWG's municipal taxes simply because they have areas in their community that have higher population density and/or higher assessed home values (this is often seen in waterfront areas or in locations close to various amenities and downtown cores). Furthermore, a home in BWG that is valued at $1.2 million pays 3 times more in taxes than a home valued at $400,000 also in BWG for the exact same lower-tier municipal services.

Average County Tax Contributions Per Capita:

When you break down our full tax levy contributions by per capita (per person), BWG's 2017 County Levy on a per capita basis is the sixth lowest in the County and below the County average.

MunicipalityPopulation (2016)County Tax Levy (2017)Average Per Person (2017)
Bradford West Gwillimbury35,325$16,253,810$460
County of Simcoe305,516$152,395,587$499

MPAC Property Assessments:

Property value assessments are not determined by the County of Simcoe, rather by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) which establishes values province-wide. Where BWG residents appear to be impacted most is through new growth and a significant jump in their 2016 MPAC property value assessments (which is impacted by many factors including the proximity to the GTA and its current soaring housing market). It is also important for residents to understand that MPAC assessments impact overall taxes across the board – the same impact will be felt for municipal, education, policing, regional or city taxes when adjustments to MPAC assessments are made.

Services and Infrastructure Investment:

The County provides a wide-range of equal services to all residents across our entire region regardless of their income or property assessments. The County makes strategic infrastructure and capital investments in those areas of growth and need. County overall capital spending in BWG over the past 5 years, including projected spending on projects currently underway, is approximately $106 million. In addition to the ongoing project completion work, new capital projects in the Long Term Business Plan are approximately an additional $38 million.

Separated Cities and County Services:

It's not an accurate comparison to look at the City of Barrie, because Barrie pays the County fees for service and does not receive full County services. For instance, we do not provide road services to Barrie, while as noted above the County's overall capital spending in BWG over the past 5 years, including projected spending on projects currently underway, is approximately $106 million – much of this investment supports road projects.

 

Gerry Marshall
Simcoe County Warden