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Public Urged to Attend Meetings on Tax Structure Changes
(Wednesday, September 18/2002)--Proposed changes in the Halifax Regional Municipality's Tax Structure, if approved by Regional Council, will impact on both residential and commercial General Tax Rates, Councillors Reg Rankin and Gary Meade said today.
In a joint news release, Councillor Rankin (District 22-Hammonds Plains/Timberlea) and Councillor Meade (District 23- St. Margaret's Bay/Prospect) urged area residents and members of the business communities in their Districts to register any concerns they have now about the proposed new Tax Structure.
Halifax Regional Council is seeking citizen input regarding proposed changes in the municipality's Tax Structure. Over the next six weeks, a total of 14 public meetings will be held throughout the municipality to further explain the changes that are being proposed. Following the public consultations, Council will then make its decision on the proposals.
Under the current system, fire services, streetlights, recreational facilities and school crossing guards are not included in the Base Tax Rate. In rural areas, these services are paid for through Area Rates. However, some communities do not currently have the tax base to afford these basic levels of service, so Tax Structure changes are proposed.
It is proposed that these four services be paid for under the General Tax Rate, so that all residents of HRM will share in the costs of public safety. This meets the goal of Halifax Regional Council to provide all HRM residents with access to a standard basic level of service.
Councillor Rankin said " We do not want to show any bias before the public meetings are held in our Districts, but we do urge any residents or business people with concerns to attend those meetings and speak out now. We want to make it perfectly clear that by placing these services under the General Rate, there will be some impact on the commercial rate, as well as the residential rate, in the rural Districts."
Councillor Meade also pointed out "If funding for fire services in the rural Districts is placed under the General Tax Rate, then people have to realize that the priorities of these individual community volunteer fire departments will have to be evaluated against the priorities for fire protection throughout the entire HRM. We want everyone to realize this up front."
The following is a schedule of meetings in District 22 and District 23.
|Hammonds Plains||Hammonds Plains Community Centre||Sept 30
|Shad Bay / Prospect Bay||Brookside Junior High||Oct 9
|Tantallon||St. Margaret Arena||Oct 10
|Halifax (Clayton Park-Timberlea areas)||Keshen Goodman Library
Thomas Raddall Room
Councillor Reg Rankin
Councillor Gary Meade