Citing service inequality, Moncton residents, city councillor call for two-tier tax system

Click to play video: 'Moncton residents call for two-tier tax system' Moncton residents call for two-tier tax system
WATCH: Some residents living within Moncton city limits say it's time to implement a two-tier tax system or they'll become part of the nearby Local Service District – May 28, 2019

Residents in a community that neighbours part of Moncton’s north end have asked the city to implement a two-tier tax system.

People on Timberline Road near Magnetic Hill say they’re not receiving the same services as others who pay the same tax rate.

“We have wells and septic, we don’t have sidewalks and curbs, fire service,” said Mary Weston, who presented to city councillors at a committee of the whole meeting Monday.

“We don’t have a lot of things — playgrounds, bus service and the list goes on. They do pick up our garbage and they do plow our street.”

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Mary Weston says residents would still be paying more than neighbours in the Local Service District if a 25 per cent deduction was approved. Callum Smith / Global News

“If I had a strong arm, I could probably hit the local service district with a rock,” Weston says. “It’s not that far, and they pay $0.91 per 100 versus our $1.65 per $100, which is a significant difference.”

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Gerry MacEachern, another resident of Timberline Road who presented to councillors with Weston, says if council doesn’t make a move, the residents will.

“The Local Governance Act has a provision where we can vote to be removed from city limits,” MacEachern says.

Councillor Brian Hicks agrees with the residents that it’s not fair and a two-tier tax system is needed. Callum Smith / Global News

Coun. Brian Hicks agrees, saying the residents aren’t getting a fair deal.

“If you’re paying the same tax rate, you get the same services,” he says. “They’re clearly not getting those services.”

A staff report says a single-rate system is a countermeasure to urban sprawl, and that while all homeowners may not receive the same services, things like parks and transit can still be utilized.

“We’re only looking at a reduction of 25 per cent in our property taxes which is still going to put us over a dollar, and still far more than what they’re paying in the Local Service District,” Weston says.

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They also pay more than other city residents for fire insurance because the closest station is 10 km away, while the nearest fire hydrant is two km away, according to Weston.

Hicks says the city implementing a two-tier tax system when the Lewisville-area was annexed was “precedent-setting.”

“I think the Lewisville argument — and I quite honestly forgot about that — but they’ve done their research and I think that was precedent-setting that that’s how it should be done,” Hicks said.

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Weston, meanwhile, says a staff report from city hall is expected by the fall.

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As for Hicks, he hopes the decision is thought about long and hard because residents could be lost from the city, rather than just tax dollars.

“One of the cons that staff is going to bring back is that we’re going to lose ‘x’ number of dollars in tax revenue,” Hicks said.

“But on the other side of it, if we’re losing 25 per cent of tax revenue by going to the two-tier system, we’re going to lose 100 per cent if they move outside and become part of the [Local Service District].”

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