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Cobourg's Coat of Arms

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If you come from a large city like Toronto, you will be surprised at how high taxes are in Cobourg.  If your house in Cobourg is assessed (valued) at the average of $266,869, then in 2019 your tax bill would be $3,909.  56.7% of that goes to Cobourg, 32.3% to the County and 11.0% to the School board.  The reasons are complex but it can be said that taxes in Cobourg are similar to taxes in similar towns. For example, a house valued at $300,000 would have the taxes in 2018 per the table below.

Location Tax on $300,000
Cobourg $4,459
Port Hope (urban) $4,793
Oshawa (2019) $4,034
Brighton $3,664

Toronto’s tax for a house at the same valuation (if you can find one that cheap) would be $1,906.  Based on selling prices, in February 2019, the average Toronto house had a valuation 64% higher than the average Cobourg house so a Toronto house comparable to a Cobourg house valued at $300,000 would sell for $493K and (if MPAC valuations properly related to sell prices) this would be taxed at $3,130 - that's 30% lower than Cobourg's $4,459. (Cobourg house prices compared to Toronto's here.)

For Cobourg, the Town services you get (in 2019) are:

Service $/Year  $/Month
Police 558 46.50
Engineering & Roads 298 24.83
Fire 274 22.83
Parks 213 17.75
Governance & Administration 236 19.67
Recreation 137 11.42
Victoria Hall/ Concert Hall 85 7.08
Library 78 6.50
Tourism/ Economic Development 57 4.75
Transit 61 5.08
Community Grants & Services 74 6.17
Planning/ Building Standards 48 4.00
Streetlights 31 2.58
Conservation Authority 22 1.83
Winter Maintenance 16 1.33
Animal Control 8 0.67
Crossing Guards 7 0.59 
Waste Disposal  (this is mostly a County job) 14 1.17

The above is per the brochure that comes with the Town's tax bill. The numbers are for a taxpayer with a house assessed at the average for 2019 of $266,869. 

The County looks after Waste and Re-cycling, Social Services and a number of other items.  More on the County budget for 2018 here.

Calculation of Tax Increases

Each year, the County, the Town and the School Board announce how much their taxes will go up.  Because it is based on the valuation of properties, many assume that their taxes go up in proportion to the increase in assessment – or valuation – of their property.  Not so. 

Taking the example of a stated increase in the levy of 2%: this means that the total revenue from the levy will go up by that amount.  Your individual rate will depend on your valuation – if your MPAC valuation went up the same as the average valuation, then your increase will go up by the levy increase amount.  If your valuation went up less than the average, you will actually pay less or even have a lower tax bill.  Of course if your valuation increase was higher than average, you will pay more than the stated number.  Municipalities get a report from MPAC on what the average valuation increase is and set the levy rate to achieve the amount stated.

Another example: If the total tax levy income goes up 2.5%, that is, the Town's budget goes up by 2.5%, and if that includes a 1% new assessment increase, then for someone whose MPAC valuation has changed by the average amount, then their tax bill will go up by 1.5%.  The other 1% comes from the fact that there are new taxpayers.

The total increase in income for the County, the Town and the School Board for any given year will increase by the amount of the levy increase plus an extra amount because there are more properties being taxed. That's reasonable since there are more properties to service.

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