Duncan Ross is in “a grey area,” and is frustrated with Trenton town council over the issue – one he has been wrestling with for 27 years.
Ross has been dealing with property taxes he believes are too high, and a lack of services that those taxes ought to be paying for – and this is all because of where that property lies.
Ross, a resident of Little Harbour Road, and his sister Florence spoke to council at its Dec. 12 meeting about an issue they have taken before previous mayors and councils, to no effect – because Ross’s property is in an area between the Municipality of Pictou County and Town of Trenton.
Ross listed an assortment of problems that include a road that hasn’t been sufficiently paved in 40 years, a lack of plowing service from the Town of Trenton, “because there’s nowhere to turn,” and most troubling to him and his sister: insufficient police service in the area.
Ross referred to numerous speeding drivers in the area, infractions for which he contacted the police, only to end up getting “see-sawed” between the New Glasgow Police, who cover Trenton, and the RCMP.
“Two cars were drag racing one evening, so my first approach was to call the police. Trenton and New Glasgow are an amalgamated service, so I placed the call. The dispatcher asked me for a civic number,” said Ross. “I gave them that, and I was told they can’t help me, and that I should call the RCMP.”
When Ross called the RCMP, he said they referred him back to the Trenton police.
“At the end of the day, nobody shows up, and this has been going on for 27 years. This has to be put to bed,” said Ross. “Every time I come home, there’s an issue with my life.”
Ross said he was told the root of his problems is his four-digit civic address – which is different from the rest of the homes in Trenton, which have three-digit civic numbers.
“I’m in a grey area, but my taxes remain at $1,100 for six months,” said Ross. “I have to pay for something I don’t even get. I have no fire hydrant, no sidewalks – I have my own water and my own septic. What I pay is an exceptional amount of money – I’m sure that anyone would agree.”
Ross believes the town should take action to rectify the situation he and his sister have been in, because they are considered residents of Trenton. He was blunt with council, indicating that previous mayors and councils haven’t done enough, and have been dismissive about the problems. Both Ross and his sister noted that their parents – the previous owners of the property – have also been trying for decades, to no avail, to spur Trenton council to action over the issues.
“I want what everyone else pays for – anyone else who pays taxes in Trenton,” said Ross. “If you can’t look after me, let me go to the municipality (of Pictou County).”
Coun. Don Hussher said the issue with the civic number “should be a quick fix,” in response to Ross’s statements, adding “that’s a big safety issue.” Hussher subsequently made a motion to refer the matter to CAO Brian White, to look into the matter.
In a call from The News, White said he is looking into what the Town of Trenton can do to help solve the issues the at the Rosses’ property.
“There are a relatively limited number of options, short of providing services. They’re going to have an issue with the lack of sewer in this town right now – that’s paid for through the property tax system,” said White.
White said Trenton’s sewage costs are covered in the cost of property taxes, but acknowledged that the Rosses are paying for a service they aren’t receiving.
However, White said “It’s not like they’re out in no-man’s-land as they feel they are. They are receiving most of the other services, street plowing, policing, garbage collection – it’s all covered. It’s somewhat of a difficult area because its not part of the natural downtown area.”