ELMSDALE: Residents and businesses in the Municipality of East Hants can breathe a little easier as the tax rates for both general residential and commercial will remain unchanged for the 2021-2022 year, the municipality announced in a release on April 6.
In the release, the municipality noted that in late February, East Hants Council passed its 2021/2022 operating, capital and water utility budgets.
Both the general residential ($0.8507) and commercial ($2.60) tax rates remain unchanged despite substantial increases in fees paid to the province for RCMP services (an increase of 4.9 per cent, or $185,000) and education, which saw an increase of 3.6 per cent of $195,500.
Tax rates are charged based on the assessed value of a property. Assessment rates are determined by Property Valuation Services Corporation.
For 2021, the budget factored in an average 2.82% increase in residential assessments including a 0.3% increase for those properties that are in the CAP (Capped Assessment Program), the equivalent of Consumer Price Index (CPI). The commercial assessment base has grown by 2.18%, an increase that relates to current business growth and new investment.
Residents in and surrounding the corridor between Enfield and Shubenacadie extending to Rines Creek, Hardwood Lands, MacPhees Corner and Nine Mile River will see an increase in the East Hants Sportsplex (EHSP) area rate of one cent in 2021. The Municipality is currently working with the East Hants Arena Association, an independent board who runs the EHSP, to renew public investment in this facility.
Council has a commitment to ensure the municipality is run in a fiscally responsible and transparent manner. One of the key indicators of effective taxation policy is the overall tax burden felt by the taxpayer.
Tax rates only tell one part of the story. When Council deliberates at budget time, there is particular attention paid to the increase or decrease in the overall tax burden on property owners. The tax burden is a measure of the tax rates and the individual assessment of a home and keeping the tax burden low was particularly important this year. The average $200,000 home in East Hants will see a $5 increase in general taxes, lower than the 5-year East Hants trend of $15/year. Factoring in area rates for specific services, the same home, depending on where it is located, will generally see an increase of approximately $27 in the urban areas and an increase of $6 in rural areas.
Our core business is to deliver local government services to our residents and stakeholders. Some items approved in the budgets include:
Council is committed to providing infrastructure that addresses the needs of our growing community.
- 25-year Service Capacity Study to identify the projected build out of the water & wastewater serviceable area over the next 20 to 25 years
- Wastewater Plant Optimization Study for the Lantz Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Further development of the Royal Oaks Park in Belnan, the Concorde Way playground in Enfield and picnic shelters in Belnan, Mount Uniacke and East Uniacke park areas
- Washroom project for Dawson Dowell Park in Maitland
- Active transportation pathways to connect existing trails to school properties and a section of the trail that will connect Park Road in Elmsdale to Edmund Road in Enfield
- Barney’s Brook lift station upgrade
- Assessment & long-term planning for the former Elmsdale School and the former Lantz School properties
Council is committed to providing greater value to stakeholders by improving the way the Municipality does business.
- Development of an issue management strategy and a related solution to help East Hants manage our interactions with customers and issue reporting & tracking
- Finalizing and roll out of Accessible East Hants the Municipality’s accessibility plan
- Redesign of easthants.ca to address online service delivery, enhanced accessibility features and improved user experience
Council is committed to providing services, programs and facilities, through direct service delivery and collaboration with others, that allow people and businesses to thrive.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing Program (PACE) pilot that would see the Municipality provide low-interest financing to qualifying homeowners as a lien against their property, to support energy retrofits
- Official Community Plan update to address development opportunities and issues that have arisen since the full update of the Plan was done in 2016
- Working to address the new provincial requirement that all areas of Nova Scotia be subject to comprehensive planning and land use regulations
- Fundy shoreline vulnerability study to identify vulnerable areas along the Fundy coastline which could lead to new planning policies and regulations for the coastline of East Hants as well as informing decisions about municipally owned assets along the shore
Council is committed to creating a strong commercial and residential tax assessment base that supports the economic well-being of the community. Strong municipal service delivery and good community infrastructure contribute to being able to attract, retain and encourage expansion of business in East Hants.
- Detailed concept design for the Elmsdale Village Core area
- Implement a workforce development program that will build shared efforts in retention, attraction, training and capacity building for the regional workforce in East Hants
- Phase 2 expansion of the Uniacke Business Park
- Continued support and promotion of private and not-for-profit tourism operations in East Hants
- Rising Tide Shore marketing initiative with billboard and directional signage designed to showcase the diverse experiences along Highway 215