Prop­erty taxes

Other sources of in­come pro­vide sta­bil­ity for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties: Old­ford

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL - BY DIANE CROCKER

Karen Old­ford said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the western re­gion are pleased that a con­sul­ta­tion on mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty as­sess­ments is go­ing to hap­pen.

Prop­erty as­sess­ments were just one of the top­ics dis­cussed when mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers gath­ered in Cor­ner Brook for Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador (MNL) western re­gional meet­ing over the week­end. About 60 peo­ple at­tended the two-day meet­ing held at the Glyn­mill Inn. It was the last of the group’s an­nual meet­ings to be held.

Old­ford is the pres­i­dent of MNL. The group is part­ner­ing with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment and the Mu­nic­i­pal As­sess­ment Agency on the con­sul­ta­tion.

And as at the other re­gional meet­ings, she said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in this re­gion are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing their res­i­dents be able and get out and par­tic­i­pate in the process.

“But also, I guess, re­ally look­ing to see how can we im­prove the sys­tems and rec­og­niz­ing, like us, that prop­erty tax can’t be their only be all and end all form of in­come.”

Part of the fis­cal frame­work work that econ­o­mist Wade Locke did for the group a num­ber of years ago showed that hav­ing a share of in­come tax and or sales tax are al­ter­na­tives.

“That kind of shar­ing of in­come from other lev­els of govern­ment would be ben­e­fi­cial,” said Old­ford. “It would give mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ac­cess to steady in­come.” Sim­i­lar, she said, to what the fed­eral govern­ment does with the gas tax now on a slid­ing scale.

“It’s some­thing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can look for­ward to. They can plan for it. They can do multi-year cap­i­tal works. That’s the kind of sta­bil­ity they need.”

Old­ford said the part­ners are cur­rently work­ing out the terms of ref­er­ence for the con­sul­ta­tions and ex­pects the process will move ahead quickly af­ter the bud­get is brought down this week.

“Govern­ment wants this re­view to hap­pen as much as we do,” she said.

And MNL will be en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate.

Old­ford said a lot of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand how the cur­rent process works.

“So by com­ing to the ses­sions they’ll get an op­por­tu­nity to get more ed­u­cated on this process, on how prop­erty as­sess­ments do work and what are the var­i­ous op­tions that have been used in other cen­tres and other prov­inces and coun­tries to im­prove on that.”

While all the rec­om­men­da­tions from the con­sul­ta­tion will go to govern­ment, MNL will also be putting to­gether a doc­u­ment of what’s heard that it will use and send to its mem­bers.

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