This letter in the Chronicle Herald this morning is worth noting. Since it may eventually disappear from the “Voice of the People” we copy it here in full to preserve it for ratepayers future reference.
In a Feb. 25 opinion piece, Kathy Gillis, CEO of PVSC (Property Valuation Services Corporation), says, “All property owners are assigned a PIN number for their assessment account and by using the PIN, details of their accounts are readily accessible.”
In fact, the information is limited and what is provided is not helpful in an appeal. One page of the online report is a map of the property, a second page deals only with the CAP program, and one-half of the third page is devoted to the address. None of this is useful. The remainder is sketchy, at best.
My own for 2011 and 2012 had significant differences. The construction went from “average” to “good,” the area from 2,060 sq. ft. to 2,017 sq. ft., and the garage that was detached in February 2011 became attached in February 2012. No work was done on the house since 2008 so it must have been magic.
The PRC report, on the other hand, is usually six or more pages with breakdowns of the assessment and dwelling details such as number of fixtures, heating details and the quality grade.
The important thing that is not available is the comparators report, which Ms. Gillis neglected to discuss. One has to ask for it and may have to wait months to get it. Few know it exists. I had to request mine from PVSC’s freedom of information officer (although I did not have to file a formal request).
[I have left off the letter writers name, although you may see it now at source]
The Assessment Office, which was supposed to be at arm’s length from municipal government, was never very independent, prone as it was to reassessment requests from various town administrations, but now with this corporate model ( which they copied from other provinces where it has proved to be a disaster for taxpayers), the municipalities are both clients and overseers of the “service” (Roy Brideau used to be on the Board). Note that the PVSC gets paid partly on the basis of assessment value. That is, the higher the assessments the more they get paid by the municipality. Isn’t that a sweet deal?
One thing is sure, taxpayers are not served well. The formula or information the PVSC uses to come to a figure is a complete mystery and prone to all kinds of adjustments behind closed doors, always to the taxpayers detriment.
Municipal administrations consider assessments to be their “revenue stream” (which they are not and should not be) and they want to keep it flowing at higher and higher amounts.
Please follow the rest of the links from our past posts on this subject (some were already linked specifically in the above text ) – we are tired of repeating ourselves.