The city of Belleville is undertaking a review of its tax ratings for fire and police services that could mean big tax hikes for some property owners.
City treasurer Brian Cousins presented options to city council Monday on keeping the status quo, or changing the tax rates for the two services across the city.
The idea is to define what level of service for fire and police different areas of the city are getting, and determining if everyone is paying for the service they’re getting.
Cousins said a property owner in an area with volunteer firefighters and a home assessed at 200,000 pays a tax of $143.62, while a property owner in a full-time firefighter area pays $371.38.
A change in the rating would affect, particularly, areas of Ward Two and the industrial area of College Street east.
Councillor Jackie Denyes pointed out that, for many homeowners it could mean jumping from $200 to $1500 for these services since many of the homes are in the $400,000 bracket.
Councillor Jack Miller told council he had been around when this debate had happened before and it was “rancid.”
Miller said that the College Street East industrial area has to be brought on as well as the Cannifton Urban area. He said there had been public input before.
Mayor Taso Christopher says the idea is to ensure that property owners are contributing their proper share.
CEO Rick Kester pointed out that the secondary plan area in Cannifton is a challenge since “it is shifting as we build.”
Some councillors pointed out that in terms of policing it must be determined if the rural area homeowners are getting the same service as in the urban area.
Councillor Paul Carr emphasized the need for public input and that council should understand “it has an affect on their pocketbooks.”
Mayor Christopher said the treasurer will bring in a report to council by September, with some changes coming, possibily in 2018.