Tantramar Treasurer Michael Beal is recommending property tax increases for three former local service districts and slight reductions in the former town of Sackville and the village of Dorchester.
During a draft budget presentation to Tantramar council Wednesday, Beal said taxes need to rise for the next four years in the former LSDs around Sackville, Dorchester and Point de Bute to help pay for shared municipal services such as recreation, rinks, ball fields and tourism promotion.
“The former town of Sackville and village of Dorchester will continue to subsidize the local service districts until they are fully up to the tax rate,” Beal told council.
His recommendation for five cent increases per $100 of assessment is in line with provincial legislation designed to cushion the blow of rising property taxes after the forced amalgamation of the three former LSDs with Sackville and Dorchester.
It means, for example, that property taxes on residential homes in the areas around Westcock and Wood Point would rise next year from 92.4 cents per $100 of assessment to 97.4 cents.
The tax bill on a home assessed at $100,000 in the former Sackville LSD would be $974, an increase of $50 from last year’s bill of $924.
Homeowners in the former Dorchester LSD would pay just over $1.05 per $100 of assessment or $1,053 on a home assessed at $100,000, up from about $1,000 last year.
And in the former Point de Bute LSD, the tax bill on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $1,175 up from about $1,130 last year.
Meantime, the tax rate in the former town of Sackville would decrease slightly to just over $1.54 per $100 of assessment ($1.5412) while homeowners in the former village of Dorchester would also pay slightly less with a rate just over $1.54 ($1.5438).
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 the full cost of shared municipal services.
He suggested that Tantramar continue with five cent increases every year until residential taxpayers in the former LSDs pay fully for their share of services.
Minor sports & skating
In the 2024 budget, Beal is proposing to reduce Civic Centre rink fees for minor sports groups and youth figure skating clubs from $155 per hour to $93 next year with further reductions in the following two years until the fees are eliminated.
“That would be a benefit for all of Tantramar,” he said.
“But the condition we would lay on that would be that the minor sports groups would have to provide the users savings in registration costs beginning in 2024,” he added.
“If they’re not prepared to reduce the registration costs, then they would not get the benefit of the reduced rates.”
For coverage of the 2023 Tantramar budget imposed by the province, click here.
To view the slides on the 2024 draft budget that Treasurer Beal presented to council, click here.