Mayor Small asks staff to look into housing idea
Robert Small is asking town staff to determine if offering a tax incentive for first-time homebuilders is legal.
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Amherst Mayor Robert Small is asking his town staff to look into the possibility of offering a five-year tax incentive to first time homebuilders.
AMHERST – While he’s not sure it’s legal, Amherst Mayor Robert Small wants his staff to look into offering a tax break for first-time homebuilders.
The mayor said provincial legislation prevents municipalities from offering tax breaks to companies, but he’s not sure if the same rules apply to people who build new homes. He believes a tax incentive could help grow the population of Amherst.
“It’s definitely a thinking outside the box concept, especially in light of the Ray Ivany report’s focus on finding ways to encourage private investment in our local economy,” the mayor said. “Such a proposal would encourage local investment in housing that would create smaller spinoffs in local business.”
More importantly, the mayor said, it would encourage families to live in Amherst and would be very supportive of young adults starting out or those transitioning from rent to ownership.
“You’re not going to get better interest rates than what you have now and with an added incentive, like a tax rebate, it could provide that extra boost for someone considering home ownership,” the mayor said. “If we can do something to provide that incentive to build it would be good for the community.”
The mayor said there haven’t been many new single family homes build in Amherst in recent years, although there have been numerous multi-unit complexes built – mostly for senior citizens.
Small said he’d like to be able to offer the tax incentive to first-time homebuilders.
The mayor said he’d like to see any house built in the town during 2014 be eligible for a tax rate of 99 cents per $100 taxable assessment. The tax rebate would be in effect for five years.
Amherst homeowners presently pay $1.65 per $100 assessment.
In Cumberland County, the rate is $1.04 per $100; in Oxford it’s $1.59, it’s $2.25 in Springhill, $2 in Parrsboro, $1.53 in Sackville, N.B. and $1.64 in Moncton.