Back in 2013 the CBC reported that Canaport LNG had the highest property assessment that year in all of NB. Higher than Point Lepreau, as the story reported. The current “highest assessment” detail is repeated in recent stories about potential changes to the tax deal that froze the tax bill at $500,000.
In all the discussion I have heard on this topic, not once has a journalist or commentator contemplated if the assessment for the property was too high. Instead they ran with the sensational detail that the property was assessed for almost $300,000,000.
Why would the owner appeal when tax bill would stay the same?
I haven’t heard a piece on the news about the many owners of high value properties that tend to appeal assessments frequently, to try to get their tax bills down. The reason this matters, in the context of LNG, is that the owners of the property may not have fought the assessment, because the tax bill would be the same regardless.
So the news repeats the fact that the assessment is the highest in NB. Meanwhile the owner would pay the same taxes if it were the highest or the 10th highest or the 100th highest. Why would they spend time or money to make sure that the $300 million assessment was accurate?
Does it make sense that Canaport LNG is worth more than any other property in NB?
I don’t know. But it would seem likely that the volatility in the liquefied natural gas market wouldn’t have made the gas terminal more valuable every year in since its construction. But again, why appeal if your tax bill is the same regardless.
Other high assessment properties
Like many (maybe most) assessments in NB, the assessment of the oil refinery property in Saint John did not go up in the last few years (check out Propertize.ca to explore assessment histories of NB properties). Based on Propertize, it seems the assessment was $95 million in 2014 down from $97 in the pervious 2 years.
At Point Lepreau the assessment was around $236 million in 2013, which was the same as the 2013 assessment (and up around $4 million from 2012). Apparently the billions spent on upgrades didn’t go a long way toward increasing property value.