On Tuesday, November 14, Town Council adopted the 2024 Operating budget for the Municipality. Here is additional information on everything budget-related!
Every year, Municipalities must pass budgets that are balanced. This means that any surplus or deficit gets carried over from year-to-year. With increasing municipal responsibilities and rising costs, Municipalities are challenged to make their dollars stretch an extra mile.
In Salisbury, for example, the RCMP contract costs alone account for 20% of the Operating Budget. In 2024, waste collection costs for the former Local Service Districts have increased by 30%. With a rate significantly lower than many both neighbouring and comparable municipalities, it can be a challenge to meet the expectation(s) of residents and invest in the community without raising property tax rates.
In 2024, the property tax rates amongst all sub-units in the Town are as follows:
Local Government (Town) Rate
(per $100 assessed value)
DTI (Special Provincial Levy)
(per $100 assessed value)
(per $100 assessed value)
|Increase in Cents (and %)|
|Salisbury (V)||$1.1599||N/A||$1.1599||$0.1082 (10.2%)|
|Coverdale (LD)||$0.6335||$0.4115||$1.0450||$0.0991 (10.4%)|
|Salisbury (LD)||$0.6346||$0.4115||$1.0461||$0.0975 (10.2%)|
|Moncton (LD)||$0.6394||$0.4115||$1.0509||$0.1051 (11.1%)|
|Elgin Parish (LD)||$0.6388||$0.4115||$1.0504||$0.1046 (11.0%)|
The 2024 Operating Budget can be found in full online here.
The following provides an overview of the municipal service areas, expenses budgeted for 2024, and the overview of the services offered:
|Service Area||% of Overall Budget||Total Expenses||Examples of Municipal Services & Expenses in this Area|
|Council costs (remuneration, expenses, conferences/training), Administrative Staff/Clerk’s Office, liability insurance, municipal association memberships, financial audit, municipal grants and community relations|
|RCMP contract, Salisbury Fire Rescue Department, contracted expenses to other Fire Departments that serve portions of the Town’s boundaries (Riverview, Moncton, Three Rivers, Butternut Valley), Municipal Enforcement (new in 2024)|
Note: this service area is mostly only paid for by the former Village (former LSDs pay DTI for the equivalent services in former LSDs)
Snow removal, road maintenance (patching, re-surfacing), capital purchases (e.g.: new sidewalk plow in 2024), public works department staff and expenses, street lights, summer maintenance staff, sidewalks, storm sewers, culvert installations/renewals, ditching
|Waste collection contracts, landfill tipping fees (Eco360), and funding to act on the Climate Adaptation Plan|
|Environmental Development Services||
|Plan360 services (building inspection and planning), engineering services for capital project design, a feasibility study on a recreation facility, beautification budget (including a new storefront beautification grant in 2024)|
|Rent for the Nurse Practitioner space in partnership with Horizon Health|
|Recreation & Culture||
|Operations of the Salisbury Lions Pool, summer camps, recreation programming (fitness, zumba, pickleball,etc.), Recreation & Wellness department staff and expenses, park and trail maintenance, baseball field maintenance and repairs, municipal event budget (Community Days, Christmas Tree Lighting, Halloween Lantern Walk, etc.)|
|Existing municipal debentures (loan payments) for existing projects (paid only by former Village), a new debenture (annual payment) for a new Tanker for the Salisbury Fire Rescue Department, the interim financing and future debenture charges for the majority of the annual expenses for the Salisbury Fire Rescue Station, allocation for capital upgrades to the Municipal Building (which has not been renovated in over 20 years), and previous year deficit that must be carried over (former village expense only)|
Interested in seeing how much you pay for each of these services on your tax bill? Here are examples showing what your property tax bill would look like if it were a receipt for municipal services (former village and former local service districts).
Why are property taxes going up if my assessment is going up too?
For 2024, the overall tax assessment base grew by approximately 11% for the second year in a row across the province. For the Town of Salisbury specifically, the tax base grew from $690,856,400 in 2023 to $776,640,400 in 2024, an increase of 12.4%.
If the tax rate stayed the same in 2024 as it was in 2023, the increase in revenue from the above-average increase in property tax revenue(s) would be approximately $600,000 for the Town of Salisbury. However, the difference in the warrant (funds collected through property taxes) between 2023 and 2024 is $1,498,446, meaning an additional $896,446 is to be collected through increases to the property tax rate(s).
With Salisbury’s 2024 Tax Base Assessment, each cent on the tax base means an additional $80,326 in tax-base revenue. If you divide the $896,446 that needs to be collected through property taxes by this amount, it equals 11.1 and the average increase in cents across all sub-units is 10.2. It varies from sub-unit to sub-unit as it depends if the additional expenses are shared or not by all portions of the Town and portions are off-set by anticipated increases in own-source revenues (building permits, registration fees, etc.).
How much more will I pay in property taxes in 2024?
The amount you pay in property taxes depends on the amount of your property tax assessment. The assessment value of your property is determined by Service New Brunswick and not by the Town. Additional information is available on Service New Brunswick’s website here.
In 2023, the average residential assessment in Salisbury was just over $221,000. In 2024, the average assessment is $249,112. This means that the average property tax bill, using this average assessment and the confirmed 2024 rates, will be:
- $2889.45 in the former Village of Salisbury (Ward 3);
- $2610.20 in the former LSDs (Wards 1, 2, and 4, using the average tax rate amongst all sub-units, which is $1.0478)
How will the property tax rate increase affect me if the assessed value of my property also increased?
Given the above-average increases in property assessments, it is likely that residents will see an increase from both their property assessment values and their property tax rate itself.
As noted in the above FAQ, the average residential property in 2024 is $249,112. For the sake of illustrating an example, however, the following table illustrates the differences in a tax bill of a property valued at $300,000 in 2023 (nearly $80,000 higher than the average) that sees an above average property assessment increase. The Provincial Government has a “Spike Protection Mechanism” that prevents properties from paying more than 10% of their additional assessment per year, subject to certain conditions (e.g.: the property was not sold or majorly renovated within the last year). If this were to take effect in this scenario, it means this example would be paying their 2024 property taxes based on an assessed value of $330,000 in 2024 (over $80,000 above the average assessment in the Town in 2024) with the final 2024 property tax rates. The net difference in this scenario is as follows:
*Note: For the LSD sub-units, this table assumes the tax rate of $1.0478, or the average of the rates amongst sub-units.
Couldn’t the Town just cut spending?
The majority of the Town’s budget consists of fixed expenses, making it challenging to reduce spending. In 2024, 63% of the Town’s operating expenses are fixed, meaning they are either a fixed rate based on property assessments (e.g.: animal control, cost of assessment), etc.), contractual in nature (long-term commitments, signed agreements requiring funds from the Town, etc.), or are mandated (e.g.: RCMP costs, regional service commission fees, etc.).
Semi-fixed costs represent 21% of the budget and include municipal staff, required services that could have allocations adjusted (ie: sidewalk repairs, summer staff, etc.)
Variable costs represent 17% of the 2024 operating expenses and include programming, net-new staff positions/services for 2024, value-add services (e.g.: communications/marketing, year-specific special projects, etc.). This equates to about $1.16 million, $440K of which are specific to the former Village Sub-Unit.
With such fixed costs, this means the Town must either increase property tax rates or cut municipal services. Given the rate(s) is comparable or below the average to neighbouring municipalities, Town Council adopted an above-average increase for 2024 to address strategic priorities and funding gaps across the Municipality.
How does the Town decide what it will spend money on?
The Town has a Strategic Plan, available online here, that outlines the long-term vision of the Municipality. This Plan and it’s actions and priorities, along with required/mandated services, were used as a starting point in creating the 2024 Budget. At the same time, the Town used other funding mechanisms, such as the Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF) to determine priority projects that could leverage other funding sources, such as grants, without impacting the operating budget expenses and/or tax rate(s).
In October, Town Council had a working session on the budget and then deliberated it during the October Committee of the Whole meeting. It was finalized at the November Regular Council Meeting. In the early Fall, a budget survey was also circulated to residents for input. If you did not have a chance to participate in this, make sure you are following the Town on Facebook and signed up for the monthly newsletter to stay in the loop on future consultations and opportunities to have your say!
How is the Town seeing the impact(s) of rising costs?
Like residents, the Town is not immune to rising costs above the board and inflationary impacts in a number of service areas. Here are some examples of this:
- In 2019, the average cost per-service request for sewer repairs was $4085. In 2023, it has been $8062. We are seeing similar types of increases in a number of service areas, including culvert replacements, for example.
- In 2024, the waste collection costs for the former local service districts in the Town increased by approximately 30% under the provincial contract
- In 2023, the former Village’s equalization grant was reduced by 20%, and the remainder shared across the full new municipal tax base (meaning the funding for the former Village was not only reduced, but then shared amongst all five sub-units). In 2024, it saw an additional 20% decrease and will continue to decrease by 20% annually to offset newly mandated services for the Service Commissions.
- The annual increase for RCMP costs have been, on average, 3% each year, including in 2024. Historically, the tax rate has not always been adjusted for these re-occurring increases that occurred each year.
- Like residents, the Town is spending more on the basic necessities to run their operations, such as power, fuel, and materials.
Has Municipal reform impacted the Town?
As most residents know, the Town was incorporated in 2023 as part of the Local Governance Reform process. This merged the former Village of Salisbury with portions of four Local Service Districts (LSDs).
With this change came a number of additional responsibilities for the Municipality. In 2024, the General Operating Budget works to address these through additional investments and in some cases, additional staff, for example. While a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) was added in 2022 as part of the Reform process, the Town had no additional staff added to serve the full Municipality (there was one former Village-specific position added in 2023), despite:
- Having the population served increase from 2,400 to 7,800;
- Having the square kilometrage of the Town go from 14.34 square kilometres to 329.78 square kilometres;
- Having a tax base grow from $199M in 2022 to $776M in 2024
In 2024, the Budget adds the following staff to ensure the Municipality is set-up to address the ongoing and permanent implications of the new municipal reality:
- A new Administrative position;
- A new position for Protective Services, assisting with the Salisbury Fire Rescue Department and for municipal by-law enforcement;
- A contracted position to assist with implementing strategic plan items and for enhanced events;
- The addition of a net full-time employee in Recreation and Wellness (no longer administering a reciprocal agreement for recreation in another community, converting the Director position from 50% to 100% dedicated to Salisbury and converting the existing part-time Coordinator role to a full-time position).
Why is the Town’s rate for Local Service Districts lower than the former Village?
Former Local Service Districts pay two types of rates: the rate provided by Local Governments (the Town) and the Special Provincial Levy (paid to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure for the services they remain responsible for in former LSDs).
In the former Village, the Town is responsible for the services offered by DTI in the former LSDs. These services are therefore included in the overall rate provided by the Local Government.
What is the Special Provincial Levy?
In former Local Service Districts, approximately 39% of your property tax bill goes directly to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and is not received by the Municipality (based on the average residential assessment in the Town and based on the average tax rate across former LSD sub-units).
$0.4115 for each $100 of assessed value in the former Local Service Districts is considered the Special Provincial Levy, covering costs that remain under the jurisdiction of the province including road maintenance/repairs, ditching, winter management, etc. In a former LSD, this means over $900 of the average 2024 property tax bill (using the average property assessment value in the Town) will go to NB-DTI for these services.
In the former Village, these costs are included in the rate provided by the Local Government, since these responsibilities remain with the Town in that specific area. These expenses are covered under the Transportation service area, which is not cost-shared by former LSDs.
How does the Town decide who pays for what with the new municipal sub-units?
Following municipal reform, the Town’s budget is based on shared versus local costs.
- Shared costs apply to all sub-units and are considered used, or accessible to, the entire Municipality
- Local, or sub-unit specific, costs are considered services only within one sub-unit or that pertain to contracts involving only one sub-unit
For example, where roads in the former Village sub-unit are under the responsibility of the Town but roads in former Local Service Districts (LSDs) remain under the responsibility of the province, former LSDs do not pay for any road repair costs for the former Village. Existing debentures (loans or long-term financing arrangements) that were agreed to by the former Village are not paid in any way by a former LSD.
To recognize that many shared costs involve service(s) that are not used as much or as easily by those in former LSDs, these sub-units only pay 90% of their shared costs with the remainder being absorbed by the former Village sub-unit. For example, if a former LSD’s sub-unit’s share of an expense, based on their percentage of the overall tax base, of the Town is $100, they will only pay $90, or 90%.
What does the Town pay for services from the Regional Service Commission?
The Town of Salisbury is part of the Southeast Regional Service Commission (SERSC), the RSC serving the largest population in the province. In 2024, the Town will pay just over $461,000 to the SERSC.
As part of the Local Governance Reform, RSCs across the province have additional mandated services that are funded on a regional basis. These newly-mandated services include:
- Regional transportation
- Economic Development
- Regional Tourism
- Regional Infrastructure Cost-Sharing
- Regional Public Safety
- Social & Community Development
Here is the breakdown by service/expense for the SERSC fees in 2024:
- $179,712 for tipping fees (landfill/Eco360)
- $254,457 for Plan360 (planning, building inspection, etc.)
- $6511 for Regional Collaborative Services
- $21,113 for newly-mandated services as part of municipal reform.
Will this type of increase happen every year?
In 2023, in light of municipal reform, the Town undertook a number of initiatives to determine the future priorities of the Town. These are included in overall plans and strategies such as the Strategic Plan, the Asset Management Plan, the Economic Development Strategy, and the Recreation Master Plan (completion expected in early 2024), as examples.
The development of these strategies and long-term priorities, along with the need to address the impacts of municipal reform and rising costs with an artificially-low tax rate, meant that a right-sizing approach was needed for the property tax rate. Through this above-average increase, the Town is able to fill funding gaps and act on longer-term priorities. This will properly finance a number of service areas and is intended to reduce the need for increases of this magnitude in future years. While this does not mean that the rate will remain flat/stable, especially since the assessment base is not expected to see as much above-average growth in future years, it provides the Town flexibility to limit increases of this scale in future years without jeopardizing priority projects and programs.
Town Council has identified a long-term property tax strategy as an element in the Town’s Strategic Plan to ensure that long-term financial planning for the Town’s budget(s) can take place within the context of other planning priorities (Strategic Plan, Economic Development Strategy, Asset Management Plan, etc.).
Why is the property tax rate so high?
The Municipality’s tax rate, in particular the former Village, has been significantly lower than the vast majority of municipalities. Prior to municipal reform, it was amongst the lowest three in the province. Even with this years increase, the rate in Salisbury remains competitive and lower than many neighbouring and comparable municipalities.
In some cases in 2024, neighbouring municipalities are lowering their property tax rate in light of the increase in revenue due to higher than usual property assessments. In these entities, the rate(s) were, and remain, significantly higher than the Town’s rates and often times, they have higher tax base assessments. This makes it easier to reduce the rate. In Moncton, for example, the increase in property tax assessments meant an additional $18.8 million in revenue if they maintained the same rate as 2023, and in Riverview, it meant an additional $4.076 million. In Salisbury, with a much lower tax base, it meant an additional $602,000 (approximate).
For comparison, this PDF identifies rates of neighbouring and comparable municipalities in 2023. Given other municipalities continue to adopt their 2024 budgets, this does not yet reflect confirmed 2024 rates.
In order to ensure the Town could address funding gaps and invest in strategic priorities and programs, Town Council authorized an above-average increase to the property tax rate for 2024.