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Residents shocked by 200% property tax rate rise in east France town

The mairie says the money will go towards making improvements in the spa town

Residents protest in Contrexéville. Residents shocked by 200% property tax rate rise in east France town

Some residents have threatened to sell their homes and move out of Contrexéville, Vosges, in protest Pic: @OlivierJorba / Olivier Jorba / Twitter

Residents of a commune in east France face a 200% increase in their taxe foncière, the tax paid by property owners to their local council, equivalent to hundreds of euros for many residents.

The mayor of Contrexéville, Vosges, announced the increase from 10.34% to 30.34%.

How does the property owners tax rate work?

Property tax is worked out based on a theoretical rental price, taking into account size, condition and location (known as the valeur locative cadastrale). This assessment is then reduced by 50% to account for running costs.

The mairie then applies a percentage rate to this amount, as does the departmental council, and any intercommunal body, resulting in the final bill

The planned 200% rise in the mairie’s rate will make the communal property tax rate in Contrexéville higher than that applied by the Vosges department (25.65% in the latest available figures), which already has the 12th highest average rate of any department in France.

The average for the departmental council’s percentage rate on property tax is 19.82%, according to figures published by homeowner’s union UNIP in October 2020.

Residents protest tax hike 

Residents in Contrexéville have launched a petition in protest, which has 500 signatures so far.

One signatory, Charlène, wrote: “Yes to a reasonable, staggered rise with a detailed multi-year plan for how the money will be used. No to a brutal raise, without prior discussion with the public and with no clear plan.”

Alain Jacquet, from residents’ group l’Association de défense des citoyens contrexévillois told Le Figaro: “The decision punctures our buying power, and will have repercussions for shops and artisans who are already in difficulty due to the health crisis.

“It will dissuade new families from moving to our commune, and others will move away.” 

Some residents have already publicly threatened to sell their homes in protest.

Local authorities planning improvements

Contrexéville is best known as a tourist destination due to its thermal spas, and as the home of Contrex mineral water, produced by Nestlé. 

In a statement, the Mairie said funds gained from the tax increase would be used “solely for investments in our town, in order to return it to the brilliance it deserves”.

These include improving public lighting, street repairs, renovating school buildings and improving disabled access to public buildings, among other initiatives.

Improvement works using the funds are set to begin in 2022.

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