Springhill residents get tax break

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Homeowners in Springhill will have some instant relief in their tax bills after the Town of Springhill shaved two cents off the residential tax rate last night during a special meeting to approve the community's 2008-2009 budget.
Commercial taxpayers in the community, however, will see their bills increase to $5.23 as the commercial occupancy tax is further reduced.
"It's not as high as it could be or should be," Chief Administrative Officer Don Tabor said. "Commercial taxpayers are not paying anything more than what they already have unless their assessments have gone up."
Property assessment had a direct impact on the town's equalization money from the province.
Following a rise in property assessments, many homeowners went toe-to-toe with the assessment agency and won their appeals, Mayor Guy Brown said, seeing a reduction in the equalization money from last year to this year.
"People appealed and they won," Brown said.
The province's contribution to education in Springhill, however, went up this year.
This year's budget was considered equal to that of last year, with average increase in most departments by three per cent. Increases in the policing budget of $100,000 are being funded by the province to boost the Cumberland Street Crime Unit with one more Springhill officer while revenue from the province is taking a $9,000 to $10,000 dip after announcing it will no longer pay inventory taxes for the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission.
All things considered, said Coun. Darrell White, it's a budget to be proud of.
"We're comparing apples to apples," White added. "The increases in the budget are quite reasonable."
In total, the Town of Springhill will balance out $5,855,767 in revenues and expenditures. Taking hits to balance this year's budget saw General Government drop from $1,036,469 to $902,526 and Public Health and Welfare, which was slashed from $29,966 to $2,000.

Organizations: Cumberland Street Crime Unit, Nova Scotia Liquor Commission

Geographic location: Springhill

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