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Province's new housing bill could see you adding 3 per cent or more to your property tax

Kitchener's mayor says taxpayers could be on the hook for another $4-million or more each year

As the province promises to make sure municipalities are "kept whole" when it comes to concerns over lost development fees, we're getting a bit of a clearer picture of what a funding shortfall could mean locally if we aren't.

The financial impacts of Bill 23, the 'More Homes, Built Faster' act passed last month, have been a big concern for Ontario municipalities as it slashes developer fees cities and townships rely on to support new infrastructure and services.

"Those financial impacts really have an impact on the kind of community we build and the quality of life our residents enjoy," said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.

As is, Vrbanovic said the City of Kitchener is expecting developer charges to fund nearly $400-million in growth-related costs over the next decade.

"So if we see a 10% reduction on that, [...] 40-million or $4-million a year, if we have to pass that on to taxpayers over time, on its own would be more than a 3% impact per year," he said, adding that does not take into account any added exemptions for attainable and purpose-built housing units.

"And then the other component is there's a significant impact to park land dedications," Vrbanovic said.

"Right now, we're projecting to get about $392-million that's generated cash in-lieu of park land which allows us to develop new parks, improve existing ones, and so on, [...] well this will have somewhere between a $200- and $340-million impact over 20 years."

Meantime, the province has said it does intend to ensure municipalities are "kept whole" though it has not clarified what exactly that means. The housing minister has also said the province will be doing a third-party audit of select cities finances and reserves. He's also encouraged cities to seek out federal funding as well.

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