The City of Saint John expects the provincial government to reconsider how property taxes are assessed for businesses across the province.
City staff said big businesses are paying millions less than they would have before changes introduced by the province last year.
At a joint council meeting on Monday, the council. Gary Sullivan said that for the business to be on par with residential tax rates, the city would have to increase the property tax multiplier to nearly 1.8 times the assessed property value.
Currently, the province has capped that at 1.7 times.
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“People paying taxes where they live (residential), it was a 12% assessment increase, and in the end, they would have seen an overall 6-7% increase in their taxes from year to year,” Sullivan told PKBNEWS.
“Heavy industry and business actually got a $3 million break overall.”
Sullivan said the previous system made some believe they were being double-taxed, with 1.5 times already in place with the city and province taking their cut.
“Even walking into the room the province left, we can’t get there because we have to be at 1.78,” Mayor Donna Reardon said.
“They left about 15%, 10% this year and 5% last year.”
During the meeting, some city councilors said it was a Saint John-centric problem, citing tremendous industry growth across the region, leaving taxpayers to ease the burden.
Port of Saint John growth, Saint John Energy and airport expansion were cited.
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“I think it’s time for the province to realize that we’re not doing something that will only benefit Saint John. We are actually asking for something that will benefit the whole province,” the councilor said. Paula Radwan.
“Over the past few decades, the province has made a lot of investments in Moncton, and it’s time to do something different.
Ms Reardon said the province has reacted to the city’s comments and is optimistic about the provincial government’s advice.
She said the city hopes to discuss with provincial leaders the separation of non-resident and heavy industry tax categories to distinguish between local businesses and large retailers.
“It’s a great lineup,” Coun said. Sullivan after Monday’s meeting.
“Your convenience store is very different from your Walmart. But those two are considered non-residential taxpayers.
The council is due to meet again for a joint council on February 6.
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