Tax bills for the 2013 year have already begun arriving in Corner Brook residents’ mailboxes ... and likely in all communities in this region with councils.
According to news coverage, most councils cut their mill rates because of increased property assessments, but in almost all cases, the amount of those bills will still increase.
The umbrella group for communities in this province, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, has been trying recently to cajole the provincial government to adopt an improved way for towns and cities to get the money they need to operate.
So far they have been met with roadblocks at every turn.
MNL considers the property tax model for municipalities to be regressive and unfair — and it is.
They want the province to increase income tax rates and pass the money along to municipalities to run their operations.
That hasn’t happened and isn’t likely to anytime soon.
The province has its own problems with collecting enough tax money to stay out of the hole and they aren’t about to pile on more taxes to make things better for cities and towns — and get no credit for the upside ... just the blame.
But some solution has to be found.
Property taxes have always been a burden on those who can least afford to pay them — seniors for instance — and the problem is getting worse as the value of property jumps.
Seniors in their own homes may be sitting on valuable property but their fixed incomes are being eroded by everything from food to heat.
As the municipal tax bills begin landing in mailboxes this month, many low-income residents must wonder where they will get the money to settle the account.