A Tale of two Towns:
Antigonish is fairly similar to Wolfville. The populations are close although Antigonish is bigger-
They are both university towns with the same problem of tax exempt status for the university which is only partly compensated for by grants in lieu from the Province.
Tax rates for the 2005-2006 year in Antigonish have been set at $.87 per $100 of assessment for residential properties and $2.19 per $100 of commercial assessment for commercial and business occupancy properties. The Town of Antigonish publish these figures on their website.
Wolfville does not mention their rates anywhere on their website that we can see. Not proud of them? But the Residential rate is $1.56 and the Commercial
rate is $3.10 Compare.
Big difference huh? That’s 1/3 higher in Wolfville for commercial properties and almost twice Antigonish’s residential rate. But this is a meaningless
comparison unless you take assessment values into account. If assessment values are higher in Antigonish then of course a lower mill rate is needed to generate the same revenue.
2005 Residential * $235,373,500
2005 Commercial ** $218,964,600
2005 Total Assessed Value $454,338,100
Wolfville assessments: 2005 Residential * $270,079,900
2005 Commercial ** $153,676,700
2005 Total Assessed Value $423,756,600
(* & ** These figures include assessments that are tax exempt -the universities and other properties such as hospitals, schools etc. and resource properties.)
Residential assessments are lower not higher in Antigonish. Commercial
assessments overall are higher ( more businesses!) and so the total is also but the total difference is only $30,000,000 Their grants in lieu are about $350,000 Wolfville rec’d $388.638 in 2004/5
The real comparison to be made is in budget expenditure. How much does
it cost to run a Town of about the same size? The lower revenue stream from a lower tax rate is reflected in a smaller budget expenditure in Antigonish of approx 5.6 milliion. Wolfville’s budget last year was a million more at 6.4 and 6.7 million plus for ’05/06 – for a smaller population.
It is hard not to conclude that Antigonish has a thriftier administration and that both residential and commercial taxpayers have a lower tax burden in Antigonish.