Property tax bills too high: Byrne
Many New Brunswick homeowners are getting higher property tax bills this spring because some municipalities didn't follow a new provincial formula, according to Finance Minister Greg Byrne.
The provincial government introduced the property tax accountability mechanism last year that was supposed to provide greater transparency to homeowners.
Under these new rules, if assessed home values go up beyond the inflation rate plus the value of new construction done on the property, a new formula will kick in.
That will force the local tax rate to automatically go down and local councils that want to collect more property tax will have to raise it back up through a vote.
Byrne said in an interview on Friday said the provincial government also hoped it would serve as a guideline for municipalities when they set their property tax rates.
"We were hoping that municipalities would take a second look before raising property taxes, or deviating from the proposed formula," Byrne said.
Byrne said the province followed the formula when calculating taxes in the local service districts.
But not all towns and cities followed the province's example.
"I don't think we've had the uptake from the municipalities we thought we would that is disappointing," he said.
Byrne said despite the difficulties, the formula has been a success in that it makes it easier for homeowners to understand their property taxes.
He said though, government will now look to see if the formula can be revised to make it more effective.
However, he says it's unlikely government will impose a cap on how much municipalities can charge.
"We don't want to get into a situation where we get into capping [property tax assessments], because it creates distortion," Byrne said.
"So we're going to have to look at the formula perhaps there are adjustments we can make to make it more effective."