Red Deer County eyeing tax increases

Red Deer County eyeing tax increases

Red Deer County has not increased tax rates since 2015

Red Deer County plans to increase taxes in some categories to bankroll future infrastructure and pay for more community services.

Tax rates for non-residential properties (mostly industrial and commercial) and the levy used to collect money for community services will go up. Residential and farmland tax rates remain the same.

The increases amount to a $20 per $100,000 of assessed value of residential properties and $120 per $100,000 of non-residential properties.

“Since 2015 we’ve tried to hold the line on taxes recognizing that our business community was going through a recession, ” said Mayor Jim Wood. “We wanted to make sure we kept businesses thriving as much as possible through that time.

“Now, we’ve come to the realization we can only hold the taxes so long,” he said.

“We definitely had to make a chance to our taxes this year, understanding they will be significant.

“I believe it is still a tax rate that is a fair tax rate and that it will be comparable or better than other municipalities in our region and we will still see significant growth.”

The county has invested large amounts of money in infrastructure in recent years to pave the way for the kind of economic growth Gasoline Alley has been seeing.

Wood said the county has also committed to investing more in community services. Recent recreation agreements that county signed with Sylvan Lake, Delburne and Elnora included significant increases in the amount the county provides.

The funding is a recognition that the county owns few of its own recreational facilities and rural residents rely on those in nearby communities.

The increase in the community services levy will add $60 more in taxes this year on a $300,000 home.

Among fiscal challenges facing the county is a drop in the amount of linear taxes it collects from oil and gas properties.

“Our linear assessments have been definitely depleting,” said Wood. “Not only that, we’ve had a hard time collecting those taxes.”

“We have significant losses in the amount of money we receive from those in the last couple of years.”

Coun. Christine Moore said the county budget reflects the benefits and challenges of running a rural municipality with a significant rural and urban components.

Coun. Jean Bota said the county will have to monitor Gasoline Alley growth to ensure the services are there when needed.

Council gave first reading to the tax bylaw on Tuesday. Council hopes to get feedback from the public before the bylaw comes back to council May 8 for second and third reading.

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Property taxesRed Deer County