Tuesday night I attended a meeting at the Riverview Lion's Center hosted by Bruce Fitch, NB Minister for Local Governance. The Minister is touring the province speaking to groups about three areas: Property Tax and Assessment, Regional Service Delivery, and Municipalo Funding arrangements. There was a very good turn out and the room was full.
NB is still a fairly rural Province with about 33% (250,000) of our citizens living outside municipalities in Local Service Districts (LSDs). There are 101 municipalities in NB but 83% have a population of less than 2000 people and really struggle to provide services to the people living there. Part of the purpose of these meetings are to explore various methods of finding funding for services without continuing to raise property taxes.
Our assessments have increased rapidly in the past five years and the Provincial Government is taking a lot of flack for it. I've seen cases in some of our "hotter" neighbourhoods of a 50% increase in two years. Some people with ocean front properties are even higher. HJowever, on the flip side, most of these people still woouldn't sell their properties for the assessed value, it's just that the Province is trying to close the gap between assessed value and appraised, or market value, too fast. The current government has put a 3% cap on assessment increases so that will help. I was glad I went since, as a REALTOR (r), I like to know where the provincial Assessors are trending and how it will effect our clients.
Last night was a a lot more fun and I had a chance to help a great cause. For the second year I was asked to help with "McHappy Days" at the Riverview location of McDonalds. They were raising money for their Ronald McDonald Houses through out the country. In this area, they are in Halifax near the Sick Kids Hospital (Queen Elizabeth Regional). I spent a couple of hours selling Ronald McDonald "boots" that people could put their names on and stick to the walls of the restaurant. As always the community came out in large numbers to support this worthy cause.