Council's secret "public meeting" on tax reform

The meeting on tax reform was public. Council just didn't tell anyone who wasn't a city employee where it was held.

Today, Halifax council met for a “workshop” on so-called “tax reform,” a proposal to jettison the time-honoured system of assessment-based property taxes and replace it with a fee-for-services system.

When the workshop was discussed by council last month, assurances were given that it would be open to the public. And it was, nominally. Only problem is, the public wasn’t actually told about the meeting: there were no press releases announcing it, no forewarnings at previous meetings, it wasn’t posted on the HRM website page listing council meetings, there was no notice to the press. To be sure, a loose agenda was posted on the “tax reform” page on the HRM website---at 4pm Friday afternoon. But no one would know to look for it there (certainly I didn’t). Basically, council just held a “public” meeting that was entirely conducted in secret.

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