SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS–Eastern Region AssessmentNotices Mailed More than 500,000 property assessment notices are in the mailtoday, Jan. 10, to Nova Scotia property owners. The totalassessed value of properties in Nova Scotia is more than $53 billion, an increase of 6.6 per cent over 2004. In the Eastern Region — which includes all municipalities withinthe boundaries of Antigonish, Guysborough, Richmond, Inverness,Victoria and Cape Breton counties — total residential assessmentvalues are up by 4.2 per cent to almost $5.1 billion. Totalcommercial assessment increased by nearly 3.3 per cent to morethan $2.5 billion. “Property values continue to rise in the region,” said SkipMacKenzie, regional manager of the Eastern Assessment Region.”The most common reason for an increase in a residentialassessment is that the value of a property increased as a resultof a strong real estate market. If someone has recently maderenovations to their property, such as a new deck or garage, thatwill also contribute to a change in their property assessment.” All properties are assessed at market value as of Jan. 1, 2003. However, the 2005 taxation year marks the first year of the CAPAssessment Program, a program initiated by the Nova Scotiagovernment to protect property owners against sudden and dramaticincreases in property values. It allows eligible property ownersto apply each year for a cap on their taxable assessmentincrease. Assessment notices for the about 32,000 property owners whoapplied for the cap were not included in today’s mailing. Thoseproperty owners will receive their notices in February. “All properties continue to be assessed at market value,” saidMr. MacKenzie. “The province of Nova Scotia and more than 120countries around the world use market value as a standard forproperty assessment. However, property owners who applied and aredeemed eligible for a cap will see a limit on the amount thattheir taxable assessment can increase. “Property owners who applied for the cap will be notified oftheir eligibility and receive their assessment notices inFebruary,” said Mr. MacKenzie. “Eligible properties will receiveboth a market value assessment and a capped assessment. Thecapped value will be used by the municipality to calculate theirproperty taxes for 2005.” Residential property owners who get an assessment notice inJanuary can obtain detailed information about their property byentering a personal identification number (PIN) and theirassessment account number (AAN) on the website atwww.nsassessment.ca . The PIN and AAN are printed on assessmentnotices. Property owners who do not have Internet access can gettheir questions answered by calling the Assessment InformationLine at 1-800-667-5727. “We welcome calls from property owners regarding theirassessments,” said Mr. MacKenzie. “We especially encourageproperty owners who are thinking about appealing their assessmentto call us so they can obtain more information.” Property owners who receive assessment notices in January 2005may appeal their property assessment if they believe that it isnot a reasonable estimate of market value at Jan. 1, 2003. Toappeal, owners must fill out a form provided on the bottom oftheir assessment notice and return it to a Regional AssessmentOffice in person, by mail or by fax. It must be received in theRegional Assessment Office by no later than midnight, Jan. 31,2005.