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Most St. John's property taxes expected to go up in 2019

St. John’s Coun. Dave Lane, lead for finance, says most residents can expect their property taxes to go up by less than $10 per month in 2019, and about a quarter of residents may see a decrease in property taxes.
St. John’s Coun. Dave Lane, lead for finance, says most residents can expect their property taxes to go up by less than $10 per month in 2019, and about a quarter of residents may see a decrease in property taxes. - Juanita Mercer

Residential property value assessments down more than four per cent, mill rate to rise

Property owners in St. John’s will soon see their property value assessments in the mail.

Overall, residential values are down slightly, dropping 4.17 per cent since the last assessment in 2016. Commercial properties, however, have seen a 1.72 per cent increase during that time.

St. John’s Coun. Dave Lane, lead for finance and administration, said council was expecting residential values to drop by closer to five per cent.

He said that gives the city some leeway in terms of setting the mill rate for 2019, which will correct for the drop in revenue that the city will see with decreased property values, plus address increases to city expenses.

The mill rate is expected to increase between .4 and .6 – the first residential mill rate increase in the city since 2011 – and it means property taxes will go up for most people.

The exact number will be announced with the city budget on Dec. 10.

To determine a property tax, the mill rate is applied to the assessed value of the property.

“The vast majority of people will see less than ten dollars a month increase on their tax bill – most much less than that, and there will be about a quarter of the population (who will) probably see a drop in their tax bill,” Lane said after the Monday evening council meeting.

“The change is not going to be as painful as I think some people may fear,” he said.

“We’ve really done a lot to keep our costs under control and we are looking at a bit of an increase, which we’ll talk about on the 10th, but I think most people will see it’s fairly reasonable.”

Assessments were done on more than 43,000 residential and commercial properties in the city and are based on market values on Jan. 1, 2017.

Overall, total property values have decreased from $15.9 billion to $15.5 billion for 2019.

People can search for their property value assessment online at stjohns.ca.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

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