'It's completely unfair:' Coun. Rino Bortolin argues Windsor renters should have lower tax rate

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When you rent an apartment, you don't get a property tax bill the way you would if you were a home owner.

But that doesn't mean you aren't paying property taxes.

They are figured into rental costs and the higher the tax on the property, the higher the rent. Windsor city council discussed the taxing of multi-residential properties this past Monday night.

Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin told CBC Windsor Morning host, Tony Doucette, the situation is unfair and needs to be changed.

Q: Why have multi-residential tax rates always been so high in Windsor?

Bortolin:There's kind of no reason. Some of it is based on this idea that it's seen as a business venture. But really there isn't much more of an explanation than that. Even councillors that have been there for years say this is something they've been dealing with for well over a decade.

Q: What was decided at Monday's council meeting?

Bortolin: As of Monday, renters pay 2.35 times as much as a residential homeowner. That rate is still out of wack. It was 2.74 not too long ago. This reduction comes because the provincial government has forced municipal governments to lower those rates.

Q: What did you want to do differently?

Bortolin: I wanted to get more aggressive. I wanted a plan that was closer to two and that would, potentially, over a four-year span … go from 2.1 this year, to 1.9, to 1.7 to 1.5

Q: What would the benefit of that be?

Bortolin: The renters would get less of a burden.

Q: How does Windsor compare to other cities?

Bortolin: On a $640 rental unit tenants will pay up to 20 per cent taxes. For the same unit in London it's 15, in Toronto it's 10 per cent. So you see that dollar for dollar for a one-bedroom apartment you're actually paying more in Windsor than in Toronto.

Q: How did council react to your arguments?

Bortolin: The talk is "our hands are tied" … but there are a couple of classes, parking lots, vacant land and large industrial that I felt we could have actually raised the tax rate. But those two classes saw their rate go down.

Q: Are there any problems with increasing taxes on those classes?

Bortolin: In fairness, those two classes represent a very small amount of the overall tax burden so what the rest of council is fearful of is we then  have to turn to the residential tax base and increase their taxes. It's a justified concern but we're dealing with something that is completely unfair.