Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Education taxes in St. Mary’s forecasted to increase

  • January 31 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

SHERBROOKE — The Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s (MODSM) should expect a 10 per cent hike in education taxes in the 2024-25 fiscal year, as property values in the area continue to rise, says Finance Director Marian Fraser.

“Based on our [property] information [multiplied by] the provincial tax rate for [annual] education expense, our education expense will increase by $65,013,” Fraser told the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 17, explaining that education taxes are tied to the municipality’s uniform assessment, which is the combination of commercial and residential property assessments. “This is a 10.19 per cent increase from $637,966 in 2023-24 to $702,908; so, it’s a large component of our $3.2 million [annual] budget.”

During the presentation, Councillor Courtney Mailman asked Fraser if the municipality can expect RCMP costs (approximately $600,000 in 2023-24) to go up for 2024-25.

Said Fraser: “While we’ve some preliminary idea that it will be increasing, it doesn’t seem like it will be quite the percentage of what this [education] is. We have received preliminary numbers – though nothing in writing – that the [policing cost increase will be] less than 10 per cent.”

The uniform assessment is a key indicator of a municipality’s financial health, providing data for a colour-coded rating of risk: green (low); yellow (moderate); and red (high). According to documents filed at the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the uniform assessment for MODSM – which has routinely achieved green status in recent years – was approximately $184 million in 2020-21.