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Should you have to pay more tax to maintain your streets?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2022 | Property taxes |

Local authorities depend on taxes levied on commercial and residential property owners to cover many of their outgoings.

Yet when you see your bill rising, there may come the point where you stop and say enough is enough. Local authorities have several ways of funding things, and it is not fair to burden everything on you as a local taxpayer.

That is what some property owners in the town of St. Paul thought

They objected to a 20% rise in their property tax bills which the town authorities justified as necessary to fund maintaining the streets that run past the property owners’ buildings.

The council worked out taxes based on how much each property owner’s real estate bordered the street. It then increased the tax levied to cover everyday things such as:

  • Sweeping the street
  • Lighting the street
  • Repairing the street surface

Let’s say you own a unit on a busy commercial thoroughfare. Your employees will use the bit of street outside your door every time they come to work. Customers will do the same. Yet many other people also use that same stretch of tarmac. For example, anyone who needs to travel past it to get to the stores or residences around the corner. Anyone who uses your street as a shortcut to get from their house to work in another district. Or delivery drivers whose sat nav directs them past along this route on their way elsewhere.

Those unhappy with their tax bills being used this way took the town to court and won. The judge ruled St. Paul could not use property tax to cover this. If you feel your commercial property tax is too high, seek legal help to understand why that might be and how you can challenge it.