Sackville Treasurer Michael Beal says he’s hoping to avoid increasing property tax rates next year in spite of sharp increases in costs for such key items as insurance and policing.
During a budget presentation to town council Monday night, Beal said an increase in property tax assessments will likely produce enough revenue to offset a $200,000 increase in wages for the RCMP and a $20,000 to $50,000 bump in the town’s insurance premiums.
“I think I could safely say if we obtained a 3% to 5% increase in assessed value that we would be able to sustain those large increases in 2022,” Beal said.
He told council that the total assessed value of property across the province has increased by an average of 7.7% according to figures released by Service New Brunswick.
The province says that about 70% of property owners will see increased market value assessments largely because house selling prices have risen to record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beal emphasized that he has not received exact assessment figures from the province yet, but expects to have them before he presents the first draft of his 2022 budget to council on October 18.
Sackville residential property taxes are $1.56 per $100 of assessed value, which means that a local property owner whose home is assessed at $100,000, paid $1,560 this year.
A 5% increase in assessed value, which would bring the home to $105,000, would result in a property tax bill of $1,638 next year, an increase of $78.
Councillors Sabine Dietz and Bill Evans said the property tax notices they’ve just received show their assessments have risen by about 7%
Evans said increased assessments are good for the town.
“In the past, we have always been able to increase our budget every year and we’ve only raised our tax rate once since I’ve been on council because the assessed value goes up,” he added.
“As individuals, people are paying more tax even though the tax rate doesn’t change,” he said.
“But it’s good for us because our costs go up and people want the services we provide and this is how we pay for them.”
However, Mayor Mesheau said many people felt “sticker shock” when they opened their latest tax notices.
“It’s easy for us here as a council maybe to sit and say ‘OK, we can absorb 7%,'” he added.
“But there are folks out there who can’t.”
Mesheau urged councillors to keep that in mind as they consider next year’s budget.
“It’s important that we open our minds to the fact that this community is made up of a lot of different people and that as we think about the services that we provide, we have to ensure that we’re providing services that are affecting positively, the most people,” he said.