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Letter: Lack of answers from Municipal Affairs is frustrating

Letter to the editor
"How long does it take to review your own website for information?" asks letter-writer Eleanor Wentzell, who is waiting to get an answer to a question on taxation from the Department of Municipal Affairs.

I write further to the letter from Walter Badcock on Feb. 3 (“Small Cove to Adam’s Point tax scheme makes no sense”) in which he advocates not paying the taxes and allowing the town council to fold and dissolve.

The Town of Small Point-Broad Cove-Blackhead-Adam’s Cove will be no more and will be serviced the same as the majority of the north shore of Conception Bay.

I have sent several letters via email to various members of the House of Assembly, including Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Eddie Joyce, but I have only received the cursory response “officials are reviewing this matter and we will respond further once we have had a chance to review.”

How long does it take to review your own website for information? In reviewing the Assessment Act, 2006, and Municipal Affairs’ own website, I found a document entitled “How Property Assessments are Calculated.” This document was last updated Jan. 15, 2018.

It seems that the information is readily available for the correct calculation of a mill rate with no mention of setting properties at a minimum value and then taxing. The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment should use its own information in the determination of whether the Town of Small Point-Broad Cove-Blackhead-Adam’s Cove is perverting the Assessment Act in using the base value of $157,000 for its mill tax of 3.5 (even if a property is below $40,000) and anything above to be taxed at the mill rate of 3.5.

This needs to be addressed as there are seniors who will see an increase of their taxes by $550. These are the seniors in the community who are still living in the family home, which is nowhere near as extravagant or lavish as the newer-built homes by pensioners or other full-time residents.

I only advocate that the tax be implemented based on assessed values across the board at one mill rate, but I think Mr. Badcock may have something in not paying the unfair and unreasonable “property” tax bill.

To all taxpayers of the town: don’t pay this tax bill. We will see how they stand by the end of May.

Eleanor Wentzell
St. John’s

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