Service New Brunswick is to blame for fast-tracking inflated property tax assessments.
That, according to Auditor General Kim MacPherson who told the Legislature exchanges between Premier Brian Gallant’s Chief of Staff and the former CEO at Service New Brunswick is what led to fast track and inflated property tax assessments. She adds misleading communication within Service New Brunswick led to the perception Premier Brian Gallant wanted the new system fast tracked.
MacPherson found multiple failures caused the property assessment errors. She determined Service NB executives “failed to acknowledge” the “high risk nature” of the technology.
There are 25 recommendations in her report but MacPherson points out half of the recommendations from past reports have still not been implemented.
Green Party leader David Coon says the property tax fiasco was a failure in governance, interference from the Premier’s Chief of Staff and overwhelmed senior staff.
MacPherson describes the work environment where the assessments were being done to be dysfunctional and toxic. Assessors believed one of the primary reasons to fast track was to raise tax revenue.
She estimates when all the reassessments are done something like $14-million will be returned to homeowners.