Municipal council approves deed transfer tax

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Cumberland County is joining others across the province in implementing a deed transfer tax on all properties sold within its jurisdiction.
Cumberland municipal council voted nine to one during its July session here Wednesday to implement a 1.5 per cent tax effective Sept. 1 with only Warden Keith Hunter voting to oppose.
"It was a choice of either higher taxes or the deed transfer tax. I opposed the tax, but I was of the minority," Hunter said following the meeting. "I don't think a deed transfer tax is fair and it's a tax that's only implemented on the people who are buying houses. We're raising the price of their house to supplement our income, which should be by property tax."
Hunter said the county opted to implement the tax in an effort to soften the tax blow when it was preparing its 2009-10 budget. With the tax, the county increased its tax rate by three cents per $100 taxable assessment. Without it, the increase could have been a lot more.
"We were looking at an additional seven cents on top of what we already planned," Hunter said. "That would have been a 10-cent rise."
During debate on the measure several councillors said they received telephone calls from constituents and members of the banking and real estate industries expressing concern with how the increase could impact home sales.
No one was in attendance during the public hearing phase of the meeting to oppose the measure and there were no written submissions against it.
The move by the county follows similar moves by other municipalities including Truro and the Municipality of Colchester. Amherst last month increased its deed transfer tax from 0.5 per cent to 1.25 per cent despite considerable opposition from the real estate industry and resident Greg Doucette, who told council the move was unfair.
Amherst's new tax comes into effect Aug. 1.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Cumberland municipal council

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Colchester

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  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    Hunter being the lone negative vote makes me think he staged this vote to look good knowing full well his vote would count for nothing as everyone was voting for it.

    its funny he says something must be done but then says can't tax new home buyers and can't tax everyone. So what's his solution...nothing, he's got none because he doesn't want to make an unpopular decision. Not all political decisions can be popular, sometimes smart decisions are unpopular, Mr. Hunter is one of those people you cannot trust.

  • Greg
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    While it's nice to that Mr Hunter seems to understand the fundamental principles of tax systems, a subject that many councilors in various municipalities (ahem) seem to ignore, it's disappointing to see yet another council opt for the path of least resistance while completely ignoring the issues of fairness and economic development. Tsk tsk.
    As if this area doesn't have enough of a disadvantage, as we are seeing in the debates on gas prices, cigarettes, and so on.