Mississauga resident slapped with $36k tax bill after city 'cleans up' property
Ron Heath says the city damaged his property and stole building materials
Oct. 25, 2017
Mississauga resident Ron Heath had big plans for his one-acre property on South Service Road until he received a $36,000 property tax bill from the city.
“It’s crazy what the city thinks it can get away with. They’re forcing their own residents to go to the food bank to survive,” said Heath.
Heath, 77, has lived in his Mineola home for two decades. A contractor by trade, he has spent years collecting construction materials to create a backyard oasis. His plans included building a cascading stone waterfall, installing a whirlpool hot tub and putting up a gazebo in his expansive backyard.
With the Cooksville Creek running along his property line, his tranquil, outdoor sanctuary would have been the envy of the entire neighbourhood, noted Heath.
But after a year-long stint in a correctional facility for two separate indecent exposure incidents, Heath returned to his home in early 2017 to find damaged building equipment, a broken tailgate lift, mature trees chopped down, chips in his hot tub and expensive building materials removed from his premises.
Heath estimates the missing materials and property damages to be roughly $85,000.
“And to top it all off, I get a $36,000 bill for it,” he said.
Ian Masini, manager of compliance and licensing enforcement with the city, told The News staff was responding to a series of property standards complaints that had been ignored by the property owner in 2016.
“Upon inspection of the property, several dead and dying Ash trees were observed, as well as a large amount of loose construction material debris in the rear yard and long grass throughout the property,” said Masini.
A property standards order was issued in August 2016 and posted on the front door of Heath’s home.
With Heath incarcerated for most of 2016, he wasn’t able to view the notice.
“But that shouldn’t give them the right to enter private property and remove all that expensive material,” he said.
The city waited until October 2016 before sending a city contractor to the property to cut down the trees and mow the grass. One month later, they removed the debris and construction material.
“The City of Mississauga has a responsibility to ensure that private property is maintained to a standard acceptable to all residents,” said Masini. “The remediation of 250 South Service Rd. was appropriate and legally permissible and the property was treated with the utmost care when the remediation work was performed.”
The city charged Heath $7,525 for removal of dead trees and $18,773 for cleanup of the entire property.
The additional $10,000 includes Heath’s regular property tax bill, plus administrative charges and late payment fees.
Heath, who says he now has to go to the Mississauga Food Bank to make ends meet, blames the city for the amount of work required on his property in the first place. Heath says that, when the Cooksville Creek flooded in 2013, the city’s lack of stormwater infrastructure resulted in severe damages to his property.
“My basement had to be gutted, my foundation was cracked and my furniture was ruined,” he said.
Heath claimed he received $25,000 from his insurance company, but it wasn’t nearly enough to cover the costs of the damage.
Still living in a construction zone, Heath said he is considering legal action against the city for stolen material and property damage.
“The City of Mississauga has made my property worthless.”