So, instead of keeping taxes the same, government officials simply invented renovations on the properties that the government then used as justification to hike the assessments.
It’s a dirty trick that was uncovered by a CBC News investigation, proof that people need the protection of an active, aware and suitably financed media.
What happened, according to memos obtained by CBC, is that, legally, property tax assessments in New Brunswick can only rise by 10 per cent per year, unless there have been major home renovations.
Service New Brunswick found 2,048 homes where assessments under a new automated system, using aerial photography, indicated that the homes had increased by more than 20 per cent in value. Unable to actually view each of the homes in time, the agency simply created a formula to assume and impose that a set value of “renovations” had been done: it led to circumstances where a homeowner who had installed two $300 laundry room windows found himself assessed as having done $40,990 in upgrades — magically, enough to justify the fast-track system’s 31.9 per cent increase in his tax bill.