Posted on: November 4, 2014 | General News
Cottage Occupancy Cost Comparisons:
Gimli, Lac du Bonnet, and Whiteshell
In its statements, the government has made claims that amount to slander with respect to cottagers being freeloaders, not paying their fair share, being subsidized by poor widows in Winnipeg etc etc. The WCA is fortunate to have members with expertise that allows the organization to read between the lines of the Ministry’s statements about their service fee and lease rate policies. On careful study, none of these outrageous claims of the government carry any weight. For example, here is an analysis of comparative Occupancy Costs in three regions of the province which reveals the emptiness of the Ministry’s claim that cottagers pay far less in occupancy costs than do landowners in neighboring or similar locations in the province.
“In the interpretation of recent changes in Park District Service Fee and Crown land rent the government has referenced the issue of fairness in comparing lessee costs to property taxes for owned cottage land in a municipality. Their claim has been that in setting new lease rates for cottagers, they are only bringing cottagers fees up to the levels of taxes paid in comparable Municipalities.
Currently, Whiteshell lessees pay rent on the equivalent Crown land market value for their lot and the building is disregarded due to cottager’s status as tenants rather than as owners.
Here are some interesting examples for land with roughly similar assessments:
Gimli Third Avenue (lakefront, road access)
Land Market Value…………………. $190,600
Building Market Value………………. $26,900
Total: Market Value…………. $217,500
Portioned Value………….. $97,880
RM of Gimli 14.161 mills
Evergreen School Division 11.506 mills
Total: 25.667 mills
Taxes: Total (0 .025667 x $97,880)= $2512.30
(RM Only $1386.00)
Total tax rate is 2.5667% expressed in percentage terms.
Lac du Bonnet
Roll # 302004.00
This property sold Nov. 15, 2011 for $300,000
Land Market Value……………………. $141,000
Building Market Value………………….$163,800
Total: Market Value……………….$304,900
Portioned Value …………..$137,205
RM of Lac du Bonnet 13.5 mills
Sunrise School Division 14.9 mills
Total: 28.4 mills
Taxes: Land only (as in park)
Total .02836 x PV $63,496………… $1800.70
(Municipal only $857.20)
Taxes: Land and Building (as in RM)
Total .02836 x PV $137,205…………. $3891.13
(Excluding School $1852.27)
Tax rate is 2.836% expressed in percentage terms.
West Hawk Lake (lakefront, road access)
Crown land equivalent market value $150,000
Rental rate 4% of value
Park District Service Fee $455.93
Land Rent $1320.00
Car Tag (One car) $40.00
Total: $1815.93 (net of current rebates)
(Notes: 1) the calculations are based upon the current, first phase of the governments 10 year steady increase in lease rates and service fees for the province’s park cottagers. 2) No attempt is made to correct for different services received in a municipality versus those in a Provincial Park 3) the differential total tax depending on School Tax have been pointed out for illustration only). ”
This data contradicts Ministry claims that Provincial Park cottagers are “privileged” by excessively low rates. The government should be prepared to explain these contradictions. Here are some questions which the Ministry needs to answer.
Since tax rates in the municipal areas are all well under 3%, why is a 4% rate applied to the equivalent Crown land value, especially since the assessed values have increased?
Throughout the Province, municipal and school taxes are calculated on a portioned value, that is, 45% of market value. Why is the crown land rent calculated on the full market value rather than on a portioned value common in municipal areas?
Since the government is making a point of “fairness and comparability” how will they justify the dramatic inflation of cottage rates in Provincial Parks compared to similar regions after the full ten year implementation of the proposed increases when Parks tax rates will be far out of line with taxation rates in any other municipal jurisdictions?
We have been unable to obtain answers to these straightforward questions, despite the Ministry and Premier promising transparency, as well as fairness.
Lessees should urgently arrange to meet with their local MLA to get help finding answers to these questions and a solution to the question of fairness in cottage occupancy costs. It is the job of all MLA’s, whether of the government or not, to help constituents get answers to important questions of this kind.