Cape Bre­ton se­nior says prov­ince’s prop­erty as­sess­ment sys­tem isn’t work­ing

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS/WEATHER - BY CHRIS SHAN­NON cshan­non@cb­post.com

HUNT­ING­TON — Harry Hunt­ing­ton says the prop­erty as­sess­ment sys­tem is out of whack.

The 85-year-old, who lives in a mod­est one-storey home on In­ter­vale Road, has one acre of prop­erty that runs along the Sal­mon River, which emp­ties into the Mira River.

In the last four years he said there has been a 38 per cent rise in the as­sess­ment of his home.

“ We’re pe­nal­ized just be­cause we’re stuck on the edge of the river,” Hunt­ing­ton said.

“Liv­ing in Louis­bourg ... Syd­ney River, Cox­heath, West­mount — those places are on the har­bour and they don’t pay for be­ing on the wa­ter.

“But the two places that are pe­nal­ized are the Bras d’Or Lakes and the Mira be­cause there’s cot­tages here.”

Un­der the cap as­sess­ment pro- gram prop­erty own­ers across the prov­ince who own el­i­gi­ble res­i­den­tial or re­source prop­er­ties that have mar­ket value in­creases more than the an­nual change in the con­sumer price in­dex are con­sid­ered for the pro­gram.

The Union of Nova Sco­tia Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties has lob­bied to end the cap which is cost­ing some mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, mil­lions of dol­lars a year in lost rev­enue.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment will be re­view­ing the cap as­sess­ment pro­gram later in the year.

“The (CBRM) wants the cap off since it would be a tremendous tax grab,” said Hunt­ing­ton, who noted if the cap comes off his prop­erty taxes will jump $400 to $2,600 a year.

How­ever, UNSM pres­i­dent Clarence Prince, who’s also the CBRM coun­cil­lor for Syd­ney Mines, said the UNSM’s cap as­sess­ment re­view com­mit­tee is ac­tively work­ing on a re­place­ment for the pro­gram that would pro­vide re­lief for low-in­come earn­ers, yet still be fair to higher earn­ers.

“ We want to see what’s go­ing to come out of the re­view by the gov­ern­ment, so we’re looking at it,” Prince said.

“ We’re not in­sen­si­tive to the con­cerns of peo­ple who own water­front prop­erty in the Mira area.”

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