To comply with the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Ottawa would have to purchase the property from the owner on behalf of the community after collecting the special area levy. Should 21 Withrow Avenue be acquired by the City, it is proposed that it be operated as a form of community facility with public access to the surrounding grounds. The details of such operations remain to be determined.
The purchase would require funds to be raised from all affected residential and commercial property owners by way of a special area levy. If approved by City Council, the special area levy would be added to annual property tax bills over ten years, beginning in 2021 until 2030. The annual amount of the special area levy is anticipated to be approximately $31.83 per $100,000 of 2019 assessed value or approximately $128.43 per year for the average home in the area.
The special area levy is based on $4.7 million ($3.95 million for the purchase of 21 Withrow Avenue, approximately $150,000 for land transfer tax and net H.S.T., and approximately $600,000 in renovation costs to assist with bringing the structure up to minimum code requirements for public access). As City staff have not been inside the house and a detailed survey of the property has not been conducted, the above noted cash allowances may need to be adjusted.
As there is no City budget available for the operational funding of this facility, an annual operating special area levy will be required and will continue past the 10-year period of acquisition. At this point, City staff cannot specify with certainty what the ongoing operating costs will be. However, based on the experience of Fairfields Heritage House (3080 Richmond Road, Nepean), an operating cost of approximately $150,000 per year may be appropriate. Based on this amount, the operating special area levy will be approximately $7.85 per $100,000 of 2019 assessed value, or approximately $32.65 per year for the average home in the area.
Should the levy values prove to be insufficient or too high, staff will report back to City Council and request that the special area levy be adjusted accordingly.