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From the Councillor's Office
Councillor Calls for New Assessment System
(Thursday, March 23/2000)-- The time has come for Nova Scotia to have a separate and independent body to determine annual assessment values for residential and commercial properties, Councillor Reg Rankin said today.
Councillor Rankin said the present system of the Province setting the assessment rolls for the municipalities in no longer acceptable "and cries out for a new system that is not only fair, but it perceived to be fair" in the minds of property owners.
He said many municipal taxpayers do not have confidence in the present system because the Province appears to be removed from public accountability in determining the property values.
"This system has been around for a long time and simply not restricted to the present Provincial government. It's time that we recognize that municipalities have a major equity position in the assessment outcome because they are the major stakeholders.
"Municipalities, as a level of government, must rely on fair assessment values in determining their tax base. One of the basic tenets of taxation is fairness and one of the worst outcomes of taxation is unpredictability," he said.
Councillor Rankin proposed the establishment of an independent Assessment Corporation, which would include representatives of the Province, municipalities, Nova Scotia real estate industry and the public at large.
It's mandate would be to provide annual assessments of all properties in Nova Scotia-- including provincially-owned properties, Crown corporations, Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, etc. It would ensure they were in line with current and realistic market values and reflected the current economic climate in all regions of Nova Scotia. Also, it would also hear individual assessment appeals.
Councillor Rankin said the Province is continually encouraging the municipalities to participate in partnership projects and a new assessment system would be an ideal place to start.
Councillor Reg Rankin