Correcting errors and misinformation in handout

by Keith Macdonald

Thank-you Council
cleaned up harbour: formerly raw sewage in harbour
cleaning up the water: health risk being eliminated
heavy financial pressures: responded to meet these challenges
Helped define Mahone Bay as a clean, eco-friendly town

Five Issues:
• shifting demographics: depopulation
• financial pressures
• residential strategy: housing prices, seniors needs
• commercial strategy
• “branding”: What type of town should we be?

Correcting errors and misinformation presented in handout as “Facts”
some alarmist statements creating climate of fear
1) from “fact sheet”: “in the past 11yrs we have reduced our population by 27.5%”
Stats Canada data for Mahone Bay shows
1996 1,017
2006 904
decline of 113 which is 11.1%, not 27.5%
source: http://www.gov.ns.ca/finance/statistics/agency/publications/Cen2006.pdf
This must be seen in a regional context: of 31 towns in NS, 26 are in decline
This is not a problem just for Mahone Bay but a regional problem
2) from “fact sheet”:
“highest per capita residential tax assessment in Lunenburg County”
tax assessments not based on population
to say my per capita assessment has doubled since the children left home is meaningless
3) from “fact sheet”: “We are 29th of 31 towns in average cost of housing”
MB has many expensive homes and waterfront property which boost the average
high prices in that sector doesn’t affect ordinary property owners
many homes in MB assessed at under $120,000

Financial solutions to consider (  indicates currently being done by Council)

 cost sharing on infrastructure: Federal and Provincial programs
• long term financing: gradual infrastructure recapitalization
• maximize tax revenue: review current assessments
• by-law revenue: authorize town employees to issue tickets
• increase utility revenue from seasonal residents: higher base rates
• sell field and woodlands to a trust for fair market value
• raise residential tax rates: bitter medicine
 with tax relief for fixed income homeowners
• consider village status

Most other towns in Nova Scotia have had to raise tax rates to meet financial pressures
Higher rates can be combined with tax relief for fixed income and low income home owners

With such financial pressures, why is Council continuing to cut tax rates?
We DON’T pay high taxes in Mahone Bay, we have some of the lowest taxes in NS

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