Nova Scotia

Here's how much Halifax property taxes may increase in coming year

Halifax Regional Council voted to reduce 2019-2020 property tax rates at a session Friday, but that doesn't mean that homeowners will see a lower tax bill. 

As assessments go up for homes in Halifax's urban areas, so do taxes

Halifax regional council voted Friday to bring the tax rate down 0.3 per cent but the average assessed home value is going up 2.6 per cent, so many homeowners will still pay 2.3 per cent more on their next bill. (CBC)

Halifax regional council voted to reduce 2019-2020 property tax rates at a session Friday, but that doesn't mean that homeowners will see a lower tax bill. 

Council voted to bring the tax rate down 0.3 per cent but the average assessed home value is going up 2.6 per cent, so many homeowners will still pay 2.3 per cent more on their next bill — an increase of $43 to the average residential tax bill, according to city staff.  

The average assessed value of a home in the urban areas of the municipality is currently $235,292 and going up to $241,390 in 2019-2020.

Meanwhile, the urban residential tax rate will go down from 81.75 cents per $100 of assessed value to 81.5 cents.

Mayor's suggestion to use surplus rejected

Mayor Mike Savage tried to edge the overall increase down slightly from 2.3 to 2.1 per cent, pointing to the $20 million surplus expected on the 2018-2019 budget.

Just over half of that surplus has been earmarked for new capital projects. That includes $600,000 to expand transit operations.

Finance officials want to put the rest of it — which has mainly come from higher-than-expected deed transfer tax revenue — into reserves. But the mayor pointed out that it would only take another $900,000 from the city to make a 2.1 per cent increase possible.

"We're suggesting less than one-twentieth of this year's surplus be given back to the people who paid for it," said Savage.

A number of councillors agreed with the mayor, including Coun. Matt Whitman.

"It's symbolic," said Whitman, "Sometimes symbolic is important."

But the municipality's chief administrative officer, Jacques Dubé, warned the move could create risks for future budgets and several councillors agreed with that analysis.

"One time, non-recurring surpluses should never be used to fund ongoing operating expenses," said Coun. Shawn Cleary. 

"You can't do stuff like this for a few bucks on someone's tax bill."

The vote on the mayor's motion ended in an 8-8 tie, which is a loss. After that, the 2.3 per cent increase was approved.

A final decision on next year's budget, including the tax rates, is expected by mid-April.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.