Some taxpayers had been overcharged for fire protection, streetlights
PARRSBORO – Soon after adjusting the way it bills its taxpayers, the Town of Parrsboro has done additional fine-tuning.
At a committee-of-the-whole meeting on June 17, town council decided that owners of multiple properties that form one continuous block of land will be billed only once for fire protection and street lighting, providing these properties contain no more than one dwelling. It was also decided that owners of vacant lots that are too small to be used for home building, or are deemed valueless due toe extenuating circumstances, will not be billed for these services.
“We had a lot of complaints,” said Mayor Lois Smith, Friday morning. “So we asked Ray (Hickey, CAO) to put something on Facebook because he is leaving at noon until Monday for an administrators’ conference.”
The message on the town’s Facebook page explains the recent decision, which came about after council decided to separate the costs of fire protection and street lighting from the general tax rate and bill them as flat fees to taxpayers for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“Unfortunately, when tax bills were issued, it was discovered that the assessment office has some homes listed with multiple property numbers, resulting in some homeowners getting billed multiple times for fire and lights,” said the Facebook message. “There are also some properties which are too small to build a home on, or to be used in any meaningful way.”
Tax accounts affected by the changes will be readjusted.
What effect these readjustments will have on the town’s projected revenue for the year remains to be seen.
“Ray will have to look at the bottom line,” said Smith. “We may have to make some adjustments to our own budget items…. purchasing or whatever might be happening. It may not affect it in a great way.”
Parrsboro residents will soon be receiving detailed information by mail about their taxes, and will be able to take part in a public information session on the topic “in the near future,” according to an additional post on the town Facebook page made Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the mayor is encouraging anyone with an issue about their tax bill to bring it into town hall for discussion.
“We are encouraging folks, if they have their bill at home, and feel it is not justified or if they want to ask questions, to please bring it into town hall,” said Smith. “Staff will certainly have a look at it, and council will review it as well.”