Delaying implementation of deed transfer tax will cost county $80,000

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - Clapping erupted from about 30 people when Colchester County councillors delayed doubling the deed transfer tax this week.
On Thursday night, council delayed raising the tax from .5 to one per cent. The tax was anticipated to be raised yesterday but was ultimately put off until Sept. 15, at which time it will go from .5 to .75 per cent.
In January 2010, another bump will take place, making the total tax 1 per cent. The tax must be paid in cash.
"I'm impressed council had listening ears. This is absolutely a better choice," said owner of ReMax reality Sharon Corcoran after the unanimous decision.
"Do you want to risk the collapse of real estate in Colchester County? Every dollar counts for first-time homebuyers," Corcoran said during debate.
Representatives from real estate agents,
the Barrister's society and financial institutions spoke to councillors about the negative effect the increase would have if brought in immediately.
"It's unfair to give without notice and would deter people from buying ... and would have a direct impact on other sales" related to home-buying, said Royal Bank representative Marion LeBlanc.
During debate, Coun. Bill Masters challenged LeBlanc's stance.
"This is one of the hottest growth areas in the province," Masters said. "We are pro development ... we need money to operate this county and if we don't get it from this tax we'll have to take it from other places."
Coun. Tom Taggart added, "Everybody here who sees us as villains have to understand how many projects we do."
Mayor Bob Taylor said it's time the county starts making up for previous tax-light years.
"We are starting to fall behind by keeping the tax rate down the last few years."
Alan MacNeil, president of the Colchester East Hants Barrister Society, reminded council an increase, especially immediately, could "pose a disincentive to buyers in the county ... those who are buying their first home or upgrading. It's unfair."
MacNeil suggested delaying the tax increase until after Labour Day.
Ultimately, council decided to phase in the tax instead of immediate implementation.
"I can probably live with a compromise," said Coun. Masters.
By choosing to wait to increase the tax,
the county is estimating a loss of $80,000 in revenue.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Colchester East Hants Barrister Society

Geographic location: Colchester County

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