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Susan Holt was voted in as leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick on Aug. 6, 2022. Image: Twitter/Liberal Party of New Brunswick

Opposition leader wants property tax assessment fee modified

By Regis Phillips Mar 8, 2024 | 6:23 AM

Liberal Leader Susan Holt is calling on Premier Blaine Higgs to modify the “cost of assessment” fee for property tax bills.

Provincial government officials say the assessment services are to locate, value, classify and defend all real property assessments in New Brunswick to ensure accurate and dependable assessment bases for taxing authorities; and to administer related tax benefit programs.

Holt said she’s been travelling across the province and is hearing the same thing repeatedly – people are struggling.

“Homeowners across the province opened huge property tax bills this week, and with the rising cost of living, many are noticing a cost of assessment fee for the first time,” said Holt.

“They’re noticing it because of how much it has increased. At a time when many are trying to figure out how to afford rising costs of food, groceries, and gas, Premier Higgs has yet again missed an opportunity to save New Brunswickers money.”

The current property tax system includes a legislated cost for assessment at $19.40 per $100,000 in assessed value.

Opposition officials said due to the sharp increase in assessment rates across the province, this formula has significantly increased the amount billed to owners.

Keith Chiasson, the Liberal critic for Service New Brunswick, said the cost of assessment shouldn’t change with the value of your property, and it should cost the same to assess any house.

“On top of the cost, it’s unacceptable that the Higgs government is blaming municipalities. Especially at a time when so many new local governments are trying to establish services for their residents and the province is off-loading more responsibilities to them.”