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History of Minutes
Meeting Minutes - May 01, 2011
The CBRM Property Taxpayers Association
A general meeting of the CBRM Property Taxpayerís Association convened on Sunday May 1st 2011 at the Community Recreation Hall, Marion Bridge.
In attendance were, 125 resident taxpayers, many of whom attended their first meeting.
Calling of Meeting to Order
The chairman, Mr. Francis Gillis called the meeting to order at 2:05p.m.
- Welcome and Introduction
- CAP Application and Property Taxes
- UNSM/Municipal CAP Review
- Meeting with Hon. John MacDonell
- Feedback on Mr. MacKinnon's Presentation
- Meeting with Property Valuation Services
- CAP Removal / Todayís Economy
- Questions / Answers
- Wrap Up
The chairman, Mr. Francis Gillis read a petition that would be sent to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The petition was accepted with one minor amendment change. ( The petition was given to the local MLA, Mr. Alfie McLeod who took it with him to Halifax to be presented in the Government House this week).
The audience requested that a copy of the petition be forwarded to CBRM Council in an effort to seek their formal support of the Associationís petition. Many attendees expressed that if Council did not support the petition, they would be penalized in the next election.
Mr. Francis Gillis explained that the CAP started in 2005 at the rate of 10%. This was changed in 2008 to CPI (consumer price index). The CAP rate for 2011 is 2.9%. It was stressed that property assessments are Capped while the Market value assessment is UNCAPPED. He went on to explain that there are two assessment values on a property owners assessment notice. A Copy was displayed and explained to the attendees. It was also noted to all that it is the Municipality who sets the tax rate for the region.
To calculate your cost:
The CAPPED assessments X tax rate = Property Tax. If the CAP is removed the Municipality will use the Market Value to calculate oneís property taxes. I.e. market value assessment X tax rate = Property Tax
Jerry Gillis from the board of directors for CBRM Property Taxpayers Association provided an overview of the following:
CAP Review 2010, Municipal Discussions Sessions Summary Report: The report, written by independent facilitator Mr. Wayne Marsh of Independent Facilitation Services, is a summary of the input obtained in September from 114 municipal representatives, over seven independently-facilitated sessions. Mr. Jerry Gillis stated that after reviewing the contents, we the CBRM Property Taxpayers Association found that much of the CAP discussion evolved around issues with no factual data to substantiate or justify the positions stated therein. For example statements that lower end homes are paying for the CAP appeared to be without merit. Moreover research has shown that the brunt of the property taxes are being felt by those persons who built a new home in the last three years or those persons who recently bought a home and therefore, are no longer eligible for the CAP. The Association also feel the problem goes much deeper in that many homes have not been properly assessed which again has transferred the tax burden to newer home owners.
CBRM Property Taxpayers Association Meeting with The Hon. John MacDonell Minister Ė Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations: Mr. Jerry Gillis summarized the discussions which took place between the Minister, Mr. Allan Farrell and himself regarding the creation and role of the CBRM Property Taxpayers Association . The organization was created to address property tax concerns and the CAP. Numerous community hall meetings were held to get the pulse of the general public on this matter. Our mission was communicated to the Minister in that our Associationís purpose is to promote a fair, equitable and more uniform property tax structure for all CBRM Property Owners. Many property tax payers are concerned that their taxes are already too high and that the removal of the CAP will force them to sell their homes. The Minister was very personable, listened to our presentation and engaged in a lively discussion. He was receptive to the Associationís input. The Minister was very familiar with the CAP issue and appeared to fully understand the Associationís concernís. There were discussions relating to more government spending constraint and perhaps the need for a forensic audit of government operations to eliminate wasteful spending.
Council Meeting of April 5, 2011 Ė Mr. Jerry Gillis and Mr. Allan Farrell attended this meeting to view the presentation on Provincial Assessment CAP put forth by Marie Walsh, Director of Finance and John MacKinnon, Department of Technology and Communications for CBRM. Presentation by John MacKinnon addressed the adverse impacts of the CAP on CBRM and strongly recommended its demise. Councilors appeared to support the presentation except Councilor Brian Leahy. The Co- Chair, Mr. Joe Gillis provided more detail on the Association's analysis in his presentation. The CBRM Property Taxpayers Ass't analyzed the contents of the presentation and have concluded that an inordinate amount of information therein is inaccurate and misleading; i.e. MacKinnon states that the Market and Capped values of homes decreased in consecutive years of 2008 and 2009 from those in 2007, which is a mathematical impossibility because the assessments went up and the tax rate stayed the same for those years; therefore all assessments went up. In one slide he gave Market and Capped values for the year 2010 and two slides later he gave different figures for the same year. In fact he states the CBRM could have effectively reduced the tax rate by 15% if it was able to use the Market Values of properties instead the Capped Value of properties. Therefore, is he stating that CBRM reduce the tax rate by 15% once the CAP is removed? Moreover, Mr. MacKinnon states that lower valued properties "pay more tax than higher valued properties". Again, this is not supportable with fact as all properties are assessed according to their value; as an example 10% of a property valued at $100,000. is far less than 10% of a property valued at $200,000. thus how can lower valued properties pay more than higher valued properties; this is a very misleading statement. Given that the Association believes that this presentation lacked supportable figures in order to back up certain statements made, we feel that it is a subjective and unprofessional presentation that needs to be challenged. Hence, a request for the Association to present the anomalies discovered in the MacKinnon presentation will be made to CBRM Council and Mayor in the near future. Meeting with Property Valuation Services Corporation (PVSC) on April 28, 2011: The objective of this meeting was to share the results of a cross sectional study of 138 properties within CBRM. This snapshot of homes was effective based on market as of April 8, 2011. The association has asked for clarification and additional data from PVSC in order to validate our deductions and concerns. Mr. Dan Gillis, a director of the CBRM Property Taxpayers Ass't, analyzed the data and conducted the study; he provided clarification on a number of concerns raised from the audience.
The Chair summarized the concerns of any CAP removal in todayís economy. Factors impacting on the issues included:
UNSM (Municipal Government) want the CAP removed to increase Municipal Revenue.
NSP Rates 6 to 9%
Gasoline + 15%
HST + 15%
Provincial Income Taxes, One of the Highest in Canada
Unemployment in Cape Breton 18%
Brain- drain: 40% (ages 17-30) leaving Cape Breton
Finally, the Chair summarized actions that the association believes are critical to the well being of the CBRM. They included:
The need for stronger Leadership from Elected Officials.
Greater Cost Reductions/Productivity Improvements,(20% Reduction 3/5 yrs.
A Freeze on Hiring and Major Capital Projects.
A forensic look for other ways to reduce costs.
During the question and answer period, the following questions were posed:
Why are the CBRM Councilors not here working for the taxpayers who pay them?
Are you sure you want to appeal Tax Bill?
Will the Petition be made available to every one?
Will Civic bureaucrats be responsible for their actions?
In closing the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and emphasized that while the Executive is working on their behalf, that it can cannot do everything themselves and needed the assistance of all concerned taxpayers to discuss the issues with their extended family, friends and neighbors. As well, individual concerns should also be relayed to their respective councilors.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
CBRM Property Taxpayers Association