More than 300,000 Nova Scotia property owners will have a chance to review their proposed 2006 assessment, now that preliminary notices are in the mail. Notices were sent to owners of properties whose assessments are expected to increase by more than three per cent in 2006. The assessments are based on Jan. 1, 2004 market values. “Sending Nova Scotia property owners their proposed assessment in June, means that they can talk to us and get information about their property assessment before the formal assessment notice is sent in January,” said Jeff Caddell, acting regional manager for the western regional assessment office. “This year the information will also help property owners decide if they will apply for the 2006 CAP Assessment program.” Introduced in 2005, the CAP Assessment program is designed to help protect property owners from sudden and dramatic increases in market value by placing a limit, or cap, on the amount of taxable assessment increase on eligible properties. To receive a capped assessment, the property must be owned by a Nova Scotia resident and meet certain other eligibility criteria. There are some changes to the program since it was introduced last year. Property owners who applied for the CAP last year and met the residency and ownership requirements will be automatically re-considered for 2006. They do not have to reapply. Owner-occupied condominiums are now part of the CAP program. Owners of condominiums who wish to be considered for a capped assessment must submit an application for the 2006 CAP. With the changes, about 107,000 properties across the province are potentially eligible for a capped assessment in 2006, compared to 65,000 in 2005. Property owners who did not apply to the program in 2005 and whose properties are likely to be eligible are being sent an application form along with their proposed notice. Application forms are available on the website at www.nsassessment.ca or can be picked up at a local regional assessment office, Access Nova Scotia Centre, Registry of Deeds office or municipal tax office. Completed applications must be received by Assessment Services by no later than Sept. 30. “Applications will be reviewed to determine if the property meets the eligibility criteria,” said Mr. Caddell. “Property owners will be notified if their property qualifies for the CAP when they receive their formal assessment notice in January.” “We encourage property owners to call if they have any questions about their proposed assessment or need further information about the CAP Program,” added Mr. Caddell. Property owners with questions on their assessment notice can call 1-800-667-5727. For information on property assessment and the CAP program, including eligibility criteria, visit the website at www.nsassessment.ca .
Mr. Griffiths was addressing the Council alongside Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, David Beasley.The Special Envoy announced that the Yemeni Government and the Ansar Allah Houthi militants, are both committed to working on a political solution, and that he has received firm assurances from both sides, of a renewed commitment to attend talks.The UN, said Mr. Griffiths, is about to conclude an agreement between the parties on the exchange of prisoners and detainees, which he described as an important humanitarian gesture and “a timely message of hope to the Yemeni people.”Mr. Beasley and Mr. Lowcock both provided new details of the unfolding humanitarian crisis – the largest food security emergency in the world.Mr. Lowcock revealed that, despite calls for the violence to stop, UN sources have observed nearly 800 separate incidents of shelling, armed clashes, or air strikes across Yemen; often with devastating consequences for civilians and, due to the fighting, humanitarian programmes have been scaled back in the port of Hudaydah, a crucial gateway for aid efforts.Mr. Beasley, fresh from a three-day visit to Yemen this week, said that he had witnessed a country on the brink of catastrophe: “What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we – all of humanity — have only ourselves to blame.”“What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we – all of humanity – have only ourselves to blame.” David Beasley, WFP Executive Director.Describing what he saw at a hospital in the Yemeni Capital Sana’a, Mr. Beasley said that there were dozens of severely sick and malnourished children, with around 50 cases arriving every day: “they only have room for 20. The rest? They go home to die.”Restarting Yemen’s collapsed economy was identified by Mr. Griffiths as a main priority, and a “moral responsibility and obligation of the parties to the Yemeni people” He announced that he would soon convene a meeting of the Central Bank of Yemen, facilitated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).The price of simple basic food staples in Yemen has doubled in the last eight months, said Mr. Beasley, even as household livelihoods are shrinking: “for a country that’s dependent on imports for the basic needs of life, this is disaster.”Mr. Lowcock added that Saudi Arabia has helped to stabilise the Yemeni rial, depositing $200 million with the Central Bank of Yemen, which has helped to finance imports of food and other essential commodities, but substantially greater funds for humanitarian assistance will be needed, given the growing challenges faced by Yemen.The UN Secretary-General António Guterres plans to convene a high-level conference on Yemen with a focus on the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, in February.