Tax assessment rises by $2.5 million for CBC Harbour Lights tree

Tax assessment rises by $2.5 million for CBC Harbour Lights tree

Saint John — The Saint John Port Authority has learned their property tax assessment for Long Wharf will rise by $2.5 million in 2017. The lot, which sometimes houses a tent, has had no development in 40 years other than being home to CBC’s Harbour Lights tree. Port Authority CEO Jim Quinn believes there is a connection.

“I spoke with the province,” said Quinn. “An assessor told me, ‘Why don’t you call your friend Bobby?’”

Recent reports by CBC’s Robert Jones have brought attention to inconsistencies in New Brunswick tax assessments. Some are saying the higher tax bill is retaliation aimed directly at CBC for Jones’s reporting.

“Not at all,” a government official said in an interview. “The CBC admitted they have raised $2.5 million for food banks with the use of the Harbour Lights tree and the Long Wharf property. That value has not been accounted for in previous assessments. We thank the CBC for being open so we can correct this error.

“It’s important we be fair in our assessments. Right Bob?” the official said to our reporter, who is not named Bob.

“This new assessment will add $50,000 to the Port Authority’s bill, just this year!” Jones said in a TV report, stressing the last syllable in a Robert Jones way.

The Port Authority is not intimidated by the added cost. “All fundraisers have expenses,” Quinn said. “This year was a very successful year for Harbour Lights. Food banks will hardly notice that $50,000 has been cut off the top for this expense.”

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