Amherst taxpayers to get break

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Town expected to lower taxes on Wednesday

Amherst is expected to lower both its commercial and residential tax rate on Wednesday when it brings down its 2013-14 budget.

AMHERST – Amherst taxpayers are set to receive some welcome news on Wednesday.

Town council has scheduled a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. at which time it’s expected to bring down its 2013-14 budget that will include cuts to both the residential and commercial tax rates along with several other reductions.

“The taxpayers have told us they feel they as though they are overburdened and we as a council have listened,” the mayor said following council’s April session on Monday. “This is us tightening our belts and trying to do the same but with less money.”

The mayor said the residential tax rate is dropping by three cents per $100 of taxable assessment, while the commercial tax rate is being reduced by a whopping 10 cents per $100 assessment.

The new residential rate is expected to be $1.63 per $100, the commercial rate will be $4.45 per $100.

The town is also cutting the deed transfer tax from 1.25 per cent to one per cent while the solid waste charge is also being decreased.

This is not the first time the town has reduced property taxes, but past reductions have often been offset by an increasing assessment. While some property owners could still see a higher tax bill because of their own individual assessment, Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said the residential assessment is flat while the commercial assessment is pretty close to where it was last year.

“Residential assessment is pretty much flat while commercial assessment is about the same. We actually had less commercial revenue this year than last,” he said.

Last year, the town reduced the residential tax rate by a cent to $1.66, while the commercial rate dropped by five cents to $4.55 per $100 assessment and eliminated the downtown area rate.

Reduced tax revenue will mean less money coming into the town, and the mayor said that means council will have to make smart spending decisions.

“We will have to spend less. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Projects that were on the front burner this year may be moved to year two or year three. It’s not that they’re off the table, it’s just that we will be doing them as we can afford them.”

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Town council

Geographic location: Amherst

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  • ron
    April 30, 2013 - 10:50

    If the municipalities and provincial government doesn't get their crap together, you are going to see a mass exodus of hard working tax payers leaving this province. The assessment for my home has gone up $1500 since 5 years ago. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. If you keep increasing the assessment as a tax grab, you will price your own area right out of the market. The increase is clearly above and beyond the rate of inflation. Turn this around now !

  • Derek Wood
    April 30, 2013 - 10:49

    While I'm glad to hear this, the property taxes are still very high in Amherst. I have a friend in Edmonton who's house is worth 375,000 lives in a very nice neighborhood. Her property taxes are only $1800 per year. My house is only worth half of that and my property taxes are almost $3000 a year. With a higher income tax rate, higher sales tax, higher food costs, pretty much everything higher except housing costs, Nova Scotia pushes people out. There is no reason property tax has to be as high as it is. Thank you for lowering it ! Please don't waste money on senseless things like kiosks that no one uses and lower it again next year.