Deagle Gammon doesn’t support proposed property rake hike

Councillor Cathy Deagle Gammon (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER/MUSQ. VALLEY: The local HRM councillor says she would not support a 5.9 per cent property rate hike for residents in the municipality.

Cathy Deagle Gammon, who represents Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley, was responding to a question during a sit-down interview at her Fall River home on Dec. 2 about the word that staff proposed the increase.

The projection is 2.9 per cent and a separate three per cent increase to address climate change, including meeting goals of Halifax 2050.

“There was an amendment made that passed and was made by Mayor Savage to bring that down to 3.9,” she said. “We haven’t voted on that yet. It’s really interesting that staff come, and they say this is what we think we’re going to need and then for the next couple of months we debate that.

“My first year of council, it was going to be 1.9 and then it came down to less than that. I wonder about getting people so excited, so worked up about something that I think all of us know it’s going to end up someplace different than that of 5.9.”

She said if councillors were really honest, they could say they were paying the piper this year for the fact that last year they didn’t make a tax rate difference.

“The difference is that what can happen is what we need to look at,” said Deagle Gammon. “We know that we need to have money to fund some things that haven’t been funded but were committed to by even the council before this one.”

Paying for those items can only happen out of taxpayer money from surplus reserves or they get debt.

“We need to really be conscious and we’re deliberating more over the next couple of months,” she said. “We need to be truly clear on living within our means. What does that mean and then what we have to do.”

She was asked what she would be comfortable with for a property rate increase to residents of HRM.

“I absolutely don’t know,” answered Deagle Gammon. “Until we do this work. I think that would be like saying I’ve got a crystal ball and could answer that. If we’re going to be really open, we need to know what we need sustain what we have? What do we need to grow?

“Climate change, it’s the black cloud over all of us and if we don’t start to invest in that, we’re already probably 10 years too late.”

Deagle Gammon said whatever they do now these generations children and grandchild they’re either going to live with a better world or they will live with an awful world.

“If we do not address climate change now, it is outpacing what we do, what can be done in year one, and so on.”

She said she’s been fairly clear with everybody who’s emailed her asking her not to let the property tax increase become reality.

“I’ve also told people that we really do need to do some work on climate change and how we fund that,” Deagle Gammon said. “Nobody has that answer.”