We advise every Nova Scotia property owner to read this article carefully. It is like looking into a crystal ball to the future for us since they are planning the same sort of assessment corporation for Nova Scotia.
A lot of money (natch) and who pays? We will, the taxpayers. And WHY?!
municipal services used, and that property taxes should not be used to help fund programs like welfare and social housing. [in Wolfville it isn’t even anything so laudatory ]
Now they are talking about something else-municipal budgets. There are two issues involved here which reporters insist on muddling. Assessments determine the SHARE of taxes property owners pay. The idea is that those with more expensive houses and bigger properties pay more of the tax pie relatively speaking than a smaller householder. But the tax pie needed to run a Town or City doesn’t necessarily get bigger if assessments go up across the board – unless the municipality increases their budget – legitimately or illegitimately.
Rising assessments in a general way have nothing to do with burgeoning budgets, or needn’t, except they present a convenient temptation and excuse for spendthrift municipalities which are greedy for funds. As noted above freezing asessments, even lowering assessments, will do no good if municipalities decide to spend more and more and more, on more and more and more programs which require more and more staff. They will just raise the rate.
Indeed it hasn’t but municipalities ignore this. If the assessment increases are widespread the tax rate should be adjusted downward accordingly. But it is easier for administrations not to be thrifty.
Therein lies the problem. Ratepayers have to get it through their heads that assessments should be a completely separate issue from the amount needed to provide services. It is only because they are so fixedly linked in the minds of our municipal representatives that they are able to use these rising assessments to go beyond providing decent, basic services. Ratepayers must insist on thrift from their municipalities. Budgets must be examined closely by councillors and every expense justifiied to residents.
Yes, assessments should be accurate so one homeowner doesn’t pay more of the tax pie than is his due but municipal governments must also stop considering increasing tax assessment figures (whether accurate or inaccurate) as blank cheques to spend more.