News release

Amendments to Establish Assessment Service as a Municipally Controlled Corporation

Legislation to move Nova Scotia property assessment from the province to a municipally controlled, not-for-profit corporation was introduced today, Nov. 9.

The corporation will determine the market value of assessable residential, resource and commercial properties in Nova Scotia. These assessments are used by municipalities to set tax rates. This function is now performed by the assessment services division of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Under the bill, the province will continue to legislate and set tax policy.

"We consulted widely with municipalities before making this decision and are confident this is a change the majority wants," said Jamie Muir, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. "It is our intent that all existing employees of assessment services now with government will be transferred to the new agency, and that collective agreements in place will be honoured by the agency."

Since 2001, municipalities have paid the cost of property assessment done by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

"We are very pleased to see the establishment of the municipally controlled corporation moving forward," said Russell Walker, president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. "This new agency will be able to deliver services specific and appropriate to municipalities' changing needs."

The new agency will be governed by a municipally controlled board of directors, with the 55 municipalities as stakeholders. An interim assessment management board oversaw the development of this legislation during the past two years.

Lloyd Hines, vice-chairperson of the transition board, said, "This legislation is the culmination of several years of preparation and hard work. It includes protection for existing employees, a corner stone of our efforts, and provides a vehicle for the municipalities to have control over what they have been fully financing since 2001."

The new agency starts in April 2007. During the transition period, consultations will continue with employees, the Public Service Commission, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the municipalities, and the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union.

The new agency will be the Property Valuation Services Corporation. There are similar agencies throughout the country.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The job of assessing Nova Scotia properties will move from the province to a municipally controlled, not-for-profit corporation, if legislation introduced today (November 9th), is passed.

The new corporation will determine the market value of all assessable residential, resource, and commercial properties in Nova Scotia. Municipalities use these assessments for taxation. This is the same function now performed by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Jamie Muir says no jobs will be lost in the transition. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities supports the legislation.

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Media Contact:

Deborah Bayer
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-0112 E-mail: