Blackfalds spared large tax hit

Residents in Blackfalds have been spared a large tax increase this year.

Residents in Blackfalds have been spared a large tax increase this year.

The Town of Blackfalds has decided to phase in a request from Alberta Municipal Affairs. The provincial government sought a $675,000 increase on the education portion of property taxes for 2013.

Mayor Melodie Stol said on Monday that the town had tried to get the government to phase in the additional costs as it had done with a few communities with the highest increases, but the province refused.

Taxpayers, depending on the value of their homes, would have experienced tax increases of anywhere from $250 to $400, a big increase for one year, said Stol.

As a result, the town approved taking dollars out of its tax stabilization fund to phase in this hit, so residents wouldn’t see the full impact in one year.

That fund would be paid back over three years by taxpayers.

“We’ve done our best to mitigate that and we hope people see that council tried to make sure they were protected,” said Stol.

Corinne Newman, chief administrative officer for the town, said they really want to reduce the initial shock of the impact of the government changes to its educational requisitions.

The town’s municipal tax portion saw a 2.4 per cent increase.

The provincial government made a number of changes to the education property taxes that it requisitions on behalf of school districts.

Beginning in 2013, the amount of education tax that the government will requisition from municipalities will reflect about 32 per cent of the target operating costs for funding education.

The province is also discontinuing the averaging and capping formula used for calculating each municipality’s share of the education property tax and phasing-up the tax rates for municipalities in national parks to the uniform provincial rates.

Tax bills are going out in the next couple of weeks in Blackfalds.

If people have questions, they can call Donna Anderson at the town office at 403-885-4677.