Higher property tax rates are on the way for residents in the three former local service districts around Sackville, Dorchester and Point de Bute, but the province has cushioned the blow by spreading the increases over five years.
In the 2023 budget it drafted for the new Town of Tantramar, the province set five separate property tax rates for the three former LSDs as well as for the former town of Sackville and village of Dorchester.
Acting Treasurer Michael Beal told Tantramar council today that based on the current costs of running the municipality, the province has recognized that taxes in the former LSDs will need to rise to cover the costs of local services such as police and garbage collection as well as shared services such as recreation.
“What the province has indicated is that there is a five-year implementation for our entity,” he said. “So, over those five years, the tax rate will change 20% a year roughly of what it should have changed to.”
Beal presented figures showing that in this year’s budget, for example, the province raised property tax rates in the former Sackville LSD by 8.3%.
It means that homeowners there will pay 92.4 cents per $100 of assessment up from last year’s rate of 85.3 cents.
The tax bill on a home assessed at $100,000 in the former Sackville LSD will be $924, up from $853 last year.
Homeowners in the former Point de Bute LSD will pay about $1.13 per $100 of assessment, up from about $1.11 last year, an increase of 1.8%, while the property tax rate in the former Dorchester LSD will rise 5.5% to just over $1.00, up from about 95 cents.
Beal said if the province had imposed the full property tax increase this year instead of over the next five, it would have meant homeowners in the former Sackville LSD would have faced an 80% increase; residents in the former Dorchester LSD would have seen their tax rates rise 48%; while property tax rates in the Point de Bute area would have risen 14%.
Although homeowners in Sackville and Dorchester will see slight decreases in their property tax rates this year, Beal said taxpayers in the former town and village are paying higher rates than they would have if residents in the former LSDs were covering their share of municipal costs.
He criticized the province for not providing transitional funding instead of requiring taxpayers in Sackville and Dorchester to cushion the former LSDs.
“So, essentially what you see with this is something we’ve been talking about for as long as I’ve been here, for almost 30 years, is that Sackville and Dorchester are supporting the local service districts with their tax rates being low,” Beal said.
“This will continue for a period of five years.”