By Richard Bell
Who should pay for the snow clearing and general maintenance of the 2.7 km of sidewalks in Sheet Harbour?
HRM financed the installation of the sidewalks by laying a local area rate of $11.84 on property owners across a wide swath of eastern HRM. According to Councillor David Hendsbee, “It’s time to revisit this issue. That initial area rate is running it’s course.”
Hendsbee said there were a number of ways in which HRM could proceed, starting with the question of who should pay in the future: just the village core, the community civic barrier, or the whole area? Should HRM raise the rural property tax rate for Sheet Harbour up to the urban area rate? (Hendsbee noted that the only difference in services between the urban rate and the rural rate was the urban rate included sidewalk maintenance.)
In Moser River, Gail Martin said that she and most of her neighbors don’t feel that they get much out of paying for sidewalks in Sheet Harbour. “I maybe drive across those sidewalks once or twice a week when I got to shop in Sheet Harbour,” Martin said. “If they do anything to raise taxes, there’ll be a big protest.”
Hendsbee brought up the issue at City Council. Council put the issue off until its next meeting while staff prepare a quick report on what the cost would be of raising Sheet Harbour’s tax rate up to the urban rate.