Lacombe tax rate lower than expected

Lacombe council approved a 2.3 per cent municipal tax rate increase on Monday. For many residential taxpayers, the increase on their bills will be even lower because the school tax portion of the bill is lower this year. The owner of a typical house assessed at $253,032 will pay just under $41 more, to boost their total tax bill to about $2,461 from $2,420 last year. That works out to a 1.68 per cent increase.

Lacombe council approved a 2.3 per cent municipal tax rate increase on Monday.

For many residential taxpayers, the increase on their bills will be even lower because the school tax portion of the bill is lower this year.

The owner of a typical house assessed at $253,032 will pay just under $41 more, to boost their total tax bill to about $2,461 from $2,420 last year. That works out to a 1.68 per cent increase.

Commercial properties will see an increase of about 4.63 per cent.

Stronger-than-anticipated residential growth was a big factor in the decrease in tax rates from early estimates. Residential growth came in 3.92 per cent, well above the 1.87 per cent forecast by the city.

Commercial growth went up 2.29 per cent, slightly higher than the 1.97 per cent prediction.

That residential assessment growth benefited taxpayers when it came to the requisition for school taxes, which went down about one per cent.

“The city has passed on the savings from the school tax levy to residential property owners,” said Michael Minchin, the city’s corporate services director.

Total tax bills include municipal taxes, school taxes, and a levy for the Lacombe Foundation.

Mayor Steve Christie said he’s not really sure what led to the residential surge, but the city will be taking a closer look to see what can be done to keep it going.

“We know there’s a shortage of lots right now,” he said, speculating that people aren’t waiting as long to build new homes.

While residential growth is a good sign, the city is also conscious that more work needs to be done to encourage commercial and industrial development to balance the tax burden.

The city bought and is developing the Len Thompson Industrial Park towards that end.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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