N.B. flood victims say little done to prevent future damage despite rising taxes

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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FREDERICTON - Michel Imbleau of Maugerville, N.B., couldn't believe his eyes when he got his tax bill last week.
Imbleau, who had to evacuate his home near the St. John River during last spring's flood, opened the envelope from Service New Brunswick to find the value of his home had increased $6,400 since the same time last year.
''It's ridiculous,'' said the military veteran, whose home along Route 105 is now valued at $96,800 - a seven per cent increase.
And it seems Imbleau's not alone. Tax assessments are up in all three of the local service districts south of Fredericton where properties were hardest hit by flooding.
Taxes are up a total of more than $2 million over 2008 in Maugerville.
The assessment base in Sheffield is up almost $2 million this year. In Lincoln, it's up almost $10 million this year.
Sheffield resident David Bartlett couldn't understand why his home's value rose by $2,100 to $50,700 - a four per cent increase.
He hasn't done any repairs or renovations to his home since last year's flood.
But he wasn't surprised the bill went up.
''I've been fighting them for years to reassess all of this,'' said Bartlett.
Both Imbleau and Bartlett said local residents aren't getting more services in exchange for the increased taxes.
With the province getting more in property taxes from residents of flood-prone areas, the government could put the money towards mitigating flood damage, Imbleau said.
''We have a flood almost every two or three years now. The province does nothing more for us, so why would we pay more for our taxes?''
Residents have until March 31 to file an appeal of their property assessment.

Organizations: Service New Brunswick

Geographic location: FREDERICTON, Maugerville, Sheffield Lincoln

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