The Village of Cumberland, as expected, passed a bylaw to adopt property tax rates in time for the mid-May deadline.
Council had considered holding off some reserve funds that will be set aside for when the community’s population hits 5,000 and it has to start paying for police costs. In recent weeks, council members had considered an alternative of lowering property taxes for home owners as a way to offer some relief to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout.
Coun. Jesse Ketler, the strongest advocate, held that they should support this measure.
“I still feel that we could have made a property tax reduction for class one, the residential class, in an attempt to reduce property tax for families in Cumberland,” she said.
The bylaw calls for a 4.62 per cent tax rate increase. For an average home, this amounts to a hike of about $178, though when school and police rates are added, it would be $193. Using the contribution for reserve funds would, according to staff, reduce this increase by $38-67 for the year.
Council had discussed the matter during a special meeting on May 4, and at the time, most felt the savings for home owners would not be great enough, so the direction to staff was to present the tax bylaw at the May 11 meeting as it had previously been written.
“The report you see in front of you has actually changed very little from your April 27 meeting,” chief financial officer Michelle Mason told council. “The bylaw hasn’t changed either.”
The special meeting in early May allowed council the chance to discuss the matter in more detail, meaning that the decision by May 11 was largely a formality. As was the case during the special meeting, Ketler provided the lone opposition vote against the bylaw.