Tax Hike Looming in Essex

A proposed tax increase will be put to a final vote tonight at Essex town council.

A number has been reached for their municipal property tax rate to compensate for a reduction in the tax rate for school boards.

Residents will be paying 3% more in 2017, should the by-law pass.

Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche says the amount isn't a drastic price bump to property owners. "On a house worth $150,000, it's about a $41 increase per year, and if you live in rural Essex it's about $32 per year."

According to a report being presented to council, there will be a surplus collected to the tune of $96,000. Meloche says it's because the budget was created with a different number in mind for the school board. "The decrease for the school board was quite a bit less than we had anticipated it being.  We had built some additional money in to cover the school tax. They hadn't set their rate yet when we went to set our final rates back in March. So instead of us going back to the table and trying to re-write a budget, we put money away in reserves."

The report estimates the 2017 operating budget to be $38.7-million.