New Brunswick

'It blows my mind': New Maryland newlyweds saw home assessment double

Service New Brunswick has made a lot of mistakes in its property assessments this year but few as large as the $177,800 clunker it dropped on newlyweds Julie MacLean and Mark Robinson.

1 year after buying house for $170K couple sees assessment by Service New Brunswick soar to $347K

New Maryland newlyweds Julie MacLean and Mark Robinson were shocked to get a property tax bill that more than doubled the assessment on the home they bought in April 2016, pushing its assessed value to $347,000. The assessment has since been reduced to $169,200. (Jordan & Judith Photo)

Service New Brunswick has made a lot of mistakes in its property assessments this year but few as large as the $177,800 clunker it dropped on newlyweds Julie MacLean and Mark Robinson.

"We were shocked," said MacLean.  "We weren't sure what we were going to do.  We couldn't afford it."

We weren't sure what we were going to do.  We couldn't afford it.- Julie MacLean, home owner

Following a review this week, Service New Brunswick [SNB] has given the couple's New Maryland home outside of Fredericton a value of $169,200, less than half the $347,000 assessment they received in the mail four weeks ago.

The couple paid $170,000 for the home last April after it sat empty and unsold for more than two years.

It perfectly fit their needs.

"We're first-time homeowners," said MacLean. "We are living on a very tight budget. We watch our money very carefully."

Assessment doubled

Julie MacLean and Mark Robinson's initial tax bill on this home for 2017 was $1,300 above the increase legally allowed for a single year.

When the first assessment arrived it was more than double what the two had paid for the house. Even worse, SNB had raised the tax bill $1,300 beyond the legal limit of the 10 per cent increase allowed for a single year on properties where no renovations had been made.

It all threatened the couple's carefully planned finances.

"We had just got home from putting a down payment on a used car and we got the assessment," said MacLean.

"The timing made it so much worse and we were not sure at all what we were going to do. We couldn't afford it. It was definitely very stressful."

MacLean said she was getting nowhere trying to have her concerns addressed by SNB until revelations emerged last week about widespread problems with assessments this year.

"It blows my mind that they thought they could get away with it and that it happened in the first place. It's such a large number of people to be affected in such a massive way," said MacLean.

"I'm glad there was a whistleblower and it was brought to light."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Jones

Reporter

Robert Jones has been a reporter and producer with CBC New Brunswick since 1990. His investigative reports on petroleum pricing in New Brunswick won several regional and national awards and led to the adoption of price regulation in 2006.

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