LIVINGSTON, New Brunswick – It’s been two years since the first apartment building was built in the city.
Now, more than two years later, they’re moving.
That’s because of a tax cut passed by the province that lets residents of the state’s two biggest cities save more than 50 per cent of their property taxes.
The savings are set to be shared between the city and county, but residents in Willamette Valley are set for a big change in their taxes.
The city’s $2.2 billion bond issue to build the new apartments is a $6.3 billion package, the largest of its kind in North America, and a huge boost to the local economy.
“The amount of money we’re going to receive is going to be an enormous benefit for us,” Willamewood’s chief financial officer, David O’Brien, said.
There are about 5,000 units in the region, and about 70 per cent are owned by residents.
But for residents who live in the state capital, Willameto, there’s a bigger issue.
While the city of 10,000 has the highest property tax rates in North American, residents of Willametown, one of the most expensive areas in the province, have seen their property tax bills rise by about 30 per cent in the past two years.
Willamewell’s budget office estimates the city’s property tax bill could rise to $8.4 million a year by 2023, a rise of more than 25 per cent over the past decade.
For residents like Michelle Roeser, the issue has been getting to her.
Roeser lives in Willams Neck, a large residential neighbourhood in Williamstown, and has seen her property tax payments double in the last two years, to $2,500 a year.
She said the increase was a major surprise.
As the city council meets today to decide on the amount of the city tax levy hike, there are concerns about how much the increase will actually help the local community.
O’Brien said that while the city had been working with residents, they were also working with the provincial government to ensure that the increase in the tax would help Willamessee residents.
“The provincial government has been very clear that we want to do everything we can to help,” O’Brien said.
“We’re working with them and we’ll be working with our partners to see if there are ways that we can help them as well.”
As of today, about a third of the new $2 billion will go to the city to pay for the construction of the apartments.
Residents in the Willamestown area will also see a decrease in property taxes when they buy homes and other property.
With the property tax increases in the works, residents in the area will see an increase in property values.
By 2023 the area’s median home price will jump from $6,000 to $10,000, and Willameton’s median price will rise from $4,000 a year to $6; $6 is a significant increase over the $3,500 the average property value is expected to be by then.
What’s more, the amount the city is going up the property taxes is going towards the rehabilitation of old homes and the building of new ones.
More money will also be used to renovate properties that are in need of repairs.
Currently, the majority of homes in the county have no repairable damage.
New homes in Willliamessee can expect to receive a $1,500 to $1.5,000 rebate, depending on the cost of the house.
This money will be split equally between the county and city, and the city will use the money to rebuild and renovate homes in areas where there is not a lot of rehabilitation work.
A large part of the rehab will be done in Willmewood, and residents in areas surrounding the city are looking forward to seeing their taxes go up.
If you’d like to know more about the project and the construction phases, visit the Willmecounty development website here.