Southern NB cities propose property tax cuts for 2022
Some New Brunswick cities are looking to lower their property tax rates for 2022 as higher assessed values increase their budgets.
The province’s overall tax base has grown 7.7 percent this year, according to Service New Brunswick – or $ 5.2 billion – due to new construction and real estate sales.
This is a boon for certain municipalities, which are now in the midst of an annual budget deliberation.
In Moncton, assessed property values rose 10.89 percent, according to city budget documents posted online. And the city plans to reduce the property tax rate from 10.25 cents to $ 1.5472 per $ 100 of assessed value.
In Saint John, an online budget proposal shows an increase in the assessed value of 6.2 percent and the finance committee proposes a 7.5 cents reduction in the tax rate, which would bring it to 1.71 $ per $ 100.
In Fredericton, assessed property values increased an average of 9.2%. And this week, city councilors voted to reduce the property tax rate from 2.25 cents to $ 1.4086 per $ 100.
The consensus in council was that 2.25 cents was “fair,” said Henri Mallet, chair of the Fredericton Municipal Finance and Corporate Administration Committee.
This will allow the city to “meet certain needs” and “give back to the citizens,” Mallet said.
Despite the drop in rates, Fredericton homeowners will see their tax bills increase by several hundred dollars.
Average home appraisals in the city hit $ 252,464, Mallet said. This means that an average tax bill will increase from $ 348 to $ 3,556.21.
The city’s revenues, in turn, are expected to increase by around $ 8 million, he said.
Spending will increase for the renewal of infrastructure, such as roads and pipelines.
“The more we push these down the road, the cost gets higher and higher,” Mallet said.
The extra money will also help cover growing costs, he said, such as solid waste dumping fees, insurance premiums and other bills that need to be paid.
The planning department will hire an additional staff member to help with large projects such as revising the heritage by-law and developing a plan for the downtown area.
Building departments will get a new post of “environmental” staff, Mallet said, to help ensure the facilities are as energy efficient as possible.
An additional sidewalk plow operator will be hired.
A sidewalk icebreaker project will be tested.
And the side streets, known as “Priority 3”, will be salty in winter.
The city is giving up an additional $ 2 million it would have collected if it had not reduced the property tax rate.
In this scenario, the average tax bills would have been nearly $ 60 to $ 3,613.01 higher.
Some advisers have suggested that additional funds could be spent on things like housing, environmental initiatives and trail safety, Mallet said.
They also debated an even greater reduction in the tax rate – four cents per $ 100 of assessment – but that was rejected, he said.
“We also need to balance our budget.
It’s a very different financial situation than the city councilor has ever seen since he came to town hall.
“Over the past five years the budget has been really slim,” he said.
Capital spending had to be cut in order to maintain services, Mallet said, after assessments were frozen in 2018, and revenues fell last year due to the pandemic.
The city’s full budget is expected to be voted on November 22.
Moncton budget deliberations are taking place this week.
If all goes well, said City spokesperson Isabelle LeBlanc, the budget could be ratified on Friday.
Dieppe recorded the highest tax base growth in the province, at 12.75 percent.
Its budget will be presented on November 15.
It’s a different situation in northern New Brunswick, where the tax bases have also increased, but with lower margins.
The City of Campbellton will also release its budget information on November 15, Mayor Ian Comeau said.
The growth of the tax base in that city was 2.99 percent, he said.
“Maintaining our tax rate would be ideal for us right now,” Comeau said.
Edmundston is “not in the same boat as Fredericton, Moncton or Saint John when it comes to increasing taxable values,” said spokesperson Mychèle Poitras.
Its budget is expected to be adopted on November 9.
In Miramichi, the tax base increased 4.42%, but no tax cuts were proposed, said Treasurer Nancy Gorman.
The final budget is expected to be presented on November 9.
A budget presentation and approval meeting in Bathurst is scheduled for November 15th.
According to the province, Bathurst’s tax base increased 5.84 percent.