Residential and non-residential tax rates in Red Deer County will fall slightly because of growth in the tax base.
A one per cent residential tax rate increase was offset by a 4.7 per cent reduction in the total amount requisitioned for education, seniors housing and police, largely due to assessment growth. The result is a 1.4 per cent residential tax rate reduction.
While tax rates are down, most homeowners will still see a tax increase because of increasing property values.
The county estimated that if a typical $550,000 property increased in value by 4.3 per cent to $574,000, the owner could expect their $2,600 tax bill to increase by $112.
Those whose properties increased greater in value could expect to see bigger tax increases. For the few whose properties did not increase in value at all, they would see a slightly smaller tax bill.
Mayor Jim Wood said tax rate increases were necessary in the current inflationary climate.
“Everything we supply to our residents right now is costing more, a lot more,” said Wood. “We’re seeing an increase but that increase is not as high as the inflation we’re seeing.”
“I think we came to a compromise that works well.”
Setting tax rates always involves a balance, he said, adding that the county still has some of the lowest taxes among rural municipalities.
Coun. Lonny Kennett said inflation affects everything, including all county services.
“To be able to fund those without having to overtax our residents is very important,” he said.
Similarly, overall the non-residential tax rate paid by businesses and industry will fall by 1.1 per cent. No tax increase was planned and coupled with a 4.3 per cent reduction in requisition tax rates, a small reduction resulted.
The owner of a business assessed at $2 million, which increased to $2.056 million could expect to see their tax bill increase by $551.
However, overall farmland tax rates will increase by 6.6 per cent after a 4.7 per cent reduction in requisitions was factored in to the planned 10 per cent increase.
A farmer owning a cropped quarter section could expect to pay about $33 more this year and the owner of a quarter section of pasture would pay about $14 more.
For years, the county held the line on taxes before soaring inflation led to increases beginning last year of around two per cent. Prior to that, residential and farm tax rates had not increased for five years and non-residential tax rates went up once, although there were some minor increases to levies.