Sackville woman wins assessment reduction after 7-month fight
'I was raving crazy, I was so mad'
After getting an inflated property assessment and tax bill on her new home last March, 83-year-old Pat Pardy of Sackville, N.B., finally got the amounts lowered this week and is happily celebrating an end to more than seven months of frustration.
"I was raving crazy, I was so mad. It was such a ridiculous raise," said Pardy about her initial tax bill.
"It was a lot of friggin' around but at last it came out a good deal. I hope to god this is the end of it. I don't want to talk to them (government) anymore," she said.
New Brunswick's property assessment mess is not the red-hot political issue it was last spring but for hundreds of landowners just now getting problems resolved and thousands more still waiting for challenges to be dealt with it's still very much a sore point.
Service New Brunswick assessors continue to work their way through a record 18,000 challenges filed by property owners about their bill this year but about one-third of those have yet to be evaluated.
So far in October, the agency has posted just over 1,100 new corrections to property tax accounts in its public database including, on Tuesday, fixes to Pardy's account which she had been contesting since March.
"I really feel I got a fair deal," she said.
Pardy and her husband moved to Sackville from Moncton last year to be near her daughter and bought a house for $79,000.
Increased value, new classification
But this spring, the province's new assessment system assigned it a value of $132,100 and classified it as an apartment building. That doubled the taxes on it to $3,621 and Purdy spent months fighting both the assessed value and the apartment building designation.
She won on both counts with the assessed value of her home lowered to its purchase price of $79,000 and her tax bill cut by two thirds to $1,240. Still, Pardy was frustrated with the experience and feels for those who are still fighting.
"I think its ridiculous what they did to people," she said.
The province rushed a new assessment system into use this spring two years ahead of schedule in the belief it would be able to find $350 million in hidden property values that the province and municipalities could then tax.
Instead it ran into significant problems, generating thousands of inflated assessments and tax bills on properties, and Service New Brunswick managers were eventually caught making up renovation amounts on some homes to justify some of the larger increases.
With the latest revisions this week more than 8,000 landowners have won assessment reductions worth more than $300 million with thousands more disputed assessments still to be evaluated.
The auditor general is investigating the origins of the scandal and has promised a report in November.
Records show Pardy's house is one of 217 in Sackville and nine on her street to have its assessment lowered since tax bills were issued by the province on March 1.