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