News Release Archive

The Department of Housing and Municipal Affairs has mailed
notices to about 24,000 commercial and residential property
owners in Nova Scotia whose proposed 1998 property assessment
increased by more than three per cent.

"This represents less than five per cent of the total number of
property owners in this province," said John MacKay, executive
director of assessment services.

"The most common reasons for an increase in assessment is that
the market value of a property has increased or decreased due to
changes in property values in neighborhoods," said Mr. MacKay.
"Other reasons might include new construction or renovations such
as decks, garages, etc."

Last year the department mailed proposed assessment notices to
all 500,000 property owners in Nova Scotia to help ease the
transition to yearly reassessments.

"Because the department carefully examined and updated
assessments one year ago, most people will not see a large change
in their proposed 1998 assessment," said Mr. MacKay.

This summer, to reduce costs but maintain a high level of
service, the department mailed proposed assessment notices only
to the 24,000 property owners whose property value has increased
by more than three per cent over their 1997 formal assessment
delivered in January.

Property owners who do not receive a notice in the mail can call
the assessment information line at 1-800-667-5727 or check with
their regional assessment office or local registry of deeds for
their proposed 1998 value.

"Providing proposed assessments is an improved service the
department introduced last year to help facilitate the transition
from reassessments conducted every three years to those done
annually," said Mr. MacKay. "Annual reassessments provide more
accurate, up-to-date values, which had been requested for some
time by property owners, businesses and municipalities."

Providing access to proposed assessments allows for a five-month
period during which department staff can consult with property
owners, answer their questions and share information on the
assessment/taxation relationship, before the formal assessments
are set. Formal assessment notices will be mailed to property
owners in January 1998.

"The information property owners receive from our staff could
save them the time and effort of filing a formal appeal after
they receive their formal assessment notice in January 1998,"
said Mr. MacKay.

He said the transition to annual reassessments has been positive
in terms of customer service and quality of assessment data.
"Assessments are more accurate and current because the process
allows the department to carefully examine and update assessments
each year, often in consultation with property owners."

Service to property owners has improved particularly with the
establishment of a provincial assessment information call centre
which received over 24,000 calls after the 1997 assessment
notices were released. Followup surveys with callers revealed
nearly 70 per cent believe that proposed assessments are a good

"Another positive sign is that the number of appeals decreased by
10 per cent after the release of the 1997 assessments versus the
last reassessments in 1993," Mr. MacKay said.

Nova Scotia is the first province to offer property owners
proposed assessment notices. Other provincial governments have
been impressed by the Department of Housing and Municipal
Affairs' program and have called department staff for advice and
information on the process.


Contact: Michelle Whelan

         John MacKay

trp                      July 31, 1997 - 12:30 p.m.