61% of CFIB members in Wolfville feel that their municipal government has a ‘poor’ awareness of small business concerns said a representative of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in a presentation to Council last night. Only 4% thought local government’s awareness was good. And their number one concern is a high tax burden
The commercial tax ‘rate’ has increased from 2.87 in 1998/99 to 3.10 in 2004/05 an increase of 8.01%. The Kentville rate, which was higher than Wolfville’s in 98/99 (2.92), has been lower since 1999/2000 and in 2004/5 it dropped from 2.98 to 2.845. The Wolfville Property tax is $3,100 per $100,000 of property assessment compared to $2,845 in Kentville (and only $1,702.00 in Kings County).
This difference is before Wolfville adds an additional business levy to fund the Wolfville Business Development Corp which increases the difference between Kentville and Wolfville to $1,472.50. The CFIB quoted one member as saying ‘We have empty storefronts on the main street… part of the cause is taxes that are too high.’ Were you listening Councillors?
A WBDC proposed budget of $122,000 plus was presented the same evening. It was not a very detailed document but a $35,000 figure was at the top of the list to hire a full time person. When asked by one councillor whether the membership of the WBDC was fully behind this particular proposed expense the response was ‘ It passed.’ Hardly a ringing endorsement. Comments/questions from the peanut gallery indicated that many of the business owners in town thought this expense could not be justified and that it would be hard to determine whether the WBDC would be getting any value for this money. One wonders whether this indigestible lump ‘will pass’ the Wolfville Town Budget process of April 14.
Watch and see.