School tax increase imminent

The Council of Commissioners met at the Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB) office in Magog on Tuesday, April 23 to review a number of topics. An important issue discussed was the provincial government’s withdrawal of an equalization subsidy for school taxes. This comes in addition to the recently proposed budget cuts. The subsidy, worth roughly $3.4 million, will be phased out over the next three years. It will be reduced by 50 per cent next year, and 25 per cent for the following two years. The overall shortfall for the coming year is $1.9 million.Citing low administration costs and direct expenses already at a minimum, a motion was presented to increase taxes to make up the shortfall. The motion was adopted on division, with one commissioner opposed. “Its not that our spending has increased. Our revenues have been cut,” said Michael Murray, chairman of the board. Murray said the board is still working on the specifics of the increases and there could be changes, but ultimately, a tax hit is inevitable, and will be shared unevenly, based on municipal evaluations.See the entire story Thursday in The Record.