MPAC’s 2021 budget reflects municipal challenges and priorities
Each year Ontario’s municipalities use our property assessments to set property tax rates and collect taxes to fund essential services and safeguard our communities. In the face of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, we know how important it is for us to provide municipalities with a predictable source of revenue and a reliable tax-planning tool.
We are carrying out this responsibility in three key ways: by controlling our costs, supporting municipal priorities and finding new and efficient ways to deliver the assessment services our municipal partners rely on.
Controlling costs: 2021 provincial municipal levy
At the outset of our budget planning for 2021, our senior leadership knew this year had to be different. Many municipalities are facing extraordinary challenges and it would be critical that we deliver a budget that supports municipalities by delivering the same level of services without increasing costs.
Like many businesses, MPAC responded to the uncertainty created by COVID-19 by putting hiring on hold and stopping travel, resulting in cost savings. We have strictly managed our cash flow and have worked to identify efficiencies and cost reductions to maintain our budget at the current level for 2021. That means the total municipal levy amount is the same as 2020, without any reduction to service levels.
Supporting priorities: Capturing new development contributes to municipal revenues
We know that taxes from new construction, additions and renovations are a critical stream of new revenue for Ontario municipalities, and more so now than ever as they manage the impacts of the pandemic. In response to a suggestion by our Municipal Liaison Group, we have identified the opportunity to extend our year-end timelines to process additional new construction this year. We anticipate this will result in approximately $1 billion in additional new assessment captured this year for municipalities.
New ways to deliver services: easier, faster access to assessment data
While the pandemic may have fueled disruptions in our communities and businesses, it has also taught us the importance of flexibility and decisiveness in decision-making. We are committed to supporting our municipal partners with insightful data and analysis to help them navigate the future.
For example, we are now developing the next iteration of Municipal Connect, our data-sharing tool with municipalities, completely in-house. We have accelerated the project to meet the needs of municipalities during this challenging time. The new system will create the foundation for a highly collaborative, transformational tool that makes property assessment information easier to access. It will also open up new and expanded ways for municipalities to use MPAC’s valuable data, so that we can continue to support municipal governments now and into the future.
We know that the challenges posed by the pandemic will continue to evolve over time, and we are committed to working closely with our municipal partners to adapt our services and support together.