Property taxes to go up 1.5 per cent

City council gave first reading to tax bylaw on Monday

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Council unanimously approved first reading of a tax rate bylaw that includes a 1.5 per cent across-the-board increase to residential, non-residential and multi-family properties.

The owner of a $325,000 home can expect to pay another $44.64 per year.

A 2.02 per cent municipal tax rate increase was approved by council during operating budget talks in January. The 1.5 per cent increase factors in taxes collected for education and passed on to the province.

Red Deer stacks up well against Alberta’s other cities, according to charts shown to council.

The city’s residential tax rate is middle of the pack among the province’s six largest cities, including Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge.

The non-residential tax rate is the lowest, and the multi-family tax rate the second lowest, among the six cities.

Several councillors questioned what the city was doing to blow its own horn about its favourable tax rates.

City manager Craig Curtis said taxes are highlighted when promoting the city’s merits.

“We’re banging the drum,” said Curtis.

While Red Deer fares well against cities, it cannot compete with tax rates in Red Deer County and smaller communities, which do not face the same police and emergency services costs.

The inequitable way that policing and fire costs are born among Alberta’s municipalities has been a bone of contention among large municipalities for some time.

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