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Stagnant assessments bad news for municipalities


AMHERST – Amherst’s chief administrative officer knows his town faces a challenge as it prepares its 2016-17 budget in the spring.

For the second consecutive year Amherst’s property assessments are flat like the rest of the province, meaning there might not be as much tax revenue to balance the budget.

For the second consecutive year Amherst’s property assessments are flat like the rest of the province, meaning there might not be as much tax revenue to balance the budget.

“It means we’ll have less revenue to work with, that’s been a concern for a couple of years. Residential assessments are flattening and commercial assessments are retreating at the same time as expenses continue to rise,” Greg Herrett said Wednesday.

Based on the assessments, Herrett estimates the town will have an increase in tax revenue of approximately $150,000, but there will be $20,000 to $30,000 less commercial revenue. That doesn't include what’s lost in appeal.

More than 600,000 property assessments were mailed out or sent electronically late last week by the Property Valuation Services Corporation.

Figures released by the PVSC indicate that the total assessments are valued at $103 billion – a jump of only 1.55 per cent, compared to a 3.27 last year. Residential assessment is up 1.34 per cent, but with the cap it’s up 1.89 per cent. Commercial assessments are up 2.29 per cent provincially, compared to 4.06 last year.

“Different municipalities across the province are seeing only slight increases, it’s flat,” PVSC Units 3 and 4 senior manager Mike Musyscyn said. “It shows the markets are softening, it’s a sign of the times. I’m not sure how long this will last. There were times it was at six per cent and then it was at three per cent for a while, but now it’s just over one per cent.”

Property values for 2016 are based on the real estate market as of Jan. 1, 2014 and the physical state of the property on Dec. 1, 2015 that captures new construction, renovations, demolition and a property’s change in use.

Properties eligible for the capped assessment program are up 0.3 per cent, which is the Consumer Price Index for Nova Scotia.

Musyscyn said property owners can visit pvsc.ca to view their My Property Report to confirm their property details. PVSC representatives can also be reached at 1-800-380-7775 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

The assessment appeal deadline is midnight, Feb. 8.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter:@ADNdarrell

 

 

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