ARICHAT: Councillors agreed to write-off taxes for a number of properties in the municipality.

During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on September 23 in Arichat, Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand forwarded a list from revenue manager Clint Samson of properties that were assessed but should now be deemed non-taxable.

“These were properties that were incorrectly assessed as taxable,” Marchand told council. “There were a number of properties that were assessed to the county, assessed as taxable. Those assessment classifications have been changed to exempt, however, for a number of years they were accumulating interest, I believe two or three years. There are also another list of properties from Her Majesty The Queen that were taxable and should have been exempt. Those were picked up and their codes were changed and this is essentially a list of properties that need to be passed through council to get the balances written-off.”

The CAO pointed out that a majority of the properties are located around the West Arichat water treatment plant.

District 1 councillor James Goyetche wanted to know if these properties will affect the municipality’s uniform assessment, which partly determines how much in annual mandatory contributions Richmond County has to make for various services like policing and education.

“We’re writing-off the taxes but we’re not writing off the assessments,” Goyetche told council. “Are they part of the uniform assessment? It would be unfair to the municipality who can’t collect taxes, but when it comes to paying mandatory contributions, which is based on uniform assessment, we have to pay… If they don’t taxes they shouldn’t be part of our uniform assessment.”

The CAO responded that the majority of the properties are owned by the municipality.

“It’s likely that they’re included in the uniform assessment but I believe that we get grants-in-lieu as well,” Marchand said.

Goyetche was able to get a commitment from the CAO to verify the status of the properties.

“We keep them on the books because we can’t collect,” Marchand responded. “They have to be removed.”

In response to a question from deputy warden Alvin Martell as to whether these properties are treated like community halls under uniform assessment, the CAO noted that the properties will not accumulate taxes in the future and are not exemptions which fall under By-law #56.