We have been looking over the Budget documents in advance of the Budget Meeting April 14th. In it the Chief Administration Officer (CAO) refers to “new assessment wealth” when he talks about the latest reassessment of Wolfville properties. What wealth? Increased assessment doesn’t create wealth, until the resident gets fed up with the high taxes, sells out and leaves town! Nor does it add to the cost of Town administration.
For many years the Town has been conditioning electors to expect an automatic tax increase if their property values go up. They say the Town is ‘holding the line’ which only means they maintained the same tax rate (mil-rate) which increased taxation accordingly. In fact if the line on taxes is truly to be held the tax rate should go down when assessments go up.
This year, for the first time in many a year, it is proposed that the tax rate go down from 1.57 to 1.56- only one point mind you- and this was because townspeople objected strongly to a recent attempt on the part of the administration to increase Mayor and Council remuneration which shaved about $25,000 off projected expenses for this year alone, accounting for the one point reduction.
Residential taxes will still increase by a distressing 7.3% which includes some new homes added to the tax base. According to the Census the population increase in Wolfville has been only 3.7% between 1991 and 2001. Since 1998 alone taxes have risen a whopping 58%. Is it any wonder the Town of Wolfville CAO lives in Hantsport? Budget increases grossly exceed new growth.
Don’t let the The Mayor and Council tell you that tax increases are not within their control. They are.