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Toronto fast-food restaurant charging fee to cover property-tax hike

Last Updated Nov 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm EDT

If you eat at the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at Yonge and Wellesley streets, you might notice a small fee added to your bill.

The restaurant has started charging an extra 35 cents to cover a hike in property taxes this year, management said.

“That doesn’t surprise me, and the 35 cents this year will be 75 cents next year — that’s the sort of adjustments that people will make up and down the street,” said John Anderson, owner of Morningstar Trading. ”They’ll have to charge more or they will have to move.”

Anderson said taxes in the neighbourhood went up 100 per cent in May, and over the next four years, it was supposed to rise another 500 per cent.

Business owners complained to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation and, after a reassessment, they ended up with a 50-per-cent increase.

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said it’s an unconventional business practice to charge an adjustment fee. She suggested owners inform customers ahead of time and not hide the fee in the bill.

But she said the city has been working with the province to find a solution to the property-tax hikes.

“We’re very concerned about the unexpected jump in property taxes, especially after the last assessment,” she said.

“Tax reform is not going to be coming very quickly, but we are engaged in those conversations.”

The Popeyes fee does not violate municipal bylaws.