City council raising taxes 3.87%

Prepare to dig a little deeper into your pockets.

Prepare to dig a little deeper into your pockets.

Red Deer city council set the 2014 property tax rates on Tuesday, resulting in a 3.87 per cent increase across the board for all property classes.

When the education tax requirement is factored in, the result is different tax increases for property types. The city collects the education tax for the province.

That means an owner of a residential home assessed at $300,000 will pay $4.12 per month more on their total property tax bill or $49 annually. This brings the bill to $2,516 from $2,467.

The same house would pay $5.58 per month more in municipal tax, but the education portion would decrease by $1.20 and the Piper Creek Foundation portion would decrease by 26 cents per month. The total tax increase would be $4.12 per month under the bylaw so while the municipal requirement is up, the requirements for education and Piper Creek have gone down, resulting in a lesser impact to property owners.

The combined tax increases required to fund the municipal tax requirement and the requisitioned amounts from Alberta Education and the Piper Creek Foundation result in total tax increases of 2.01 per cent for residential property; 1.73 per cent for multi-family property and 2.43 per cent for non-residential property.

The city will raise $112.9 million in municipal tax revenue in 2014. It will collect $39.7 million in education taxes for the province.

Calling the tax rate competitive and comparable to other municipalities, most councillors were satisfied with where they landed.

“When you consider the service levels that we offer our own citizens I think we are quite competitive,” said Coun. Ken Johnston. “All in all I think it was quite a competitive and necessary bump.”

Mayor Tara Veer said the city unlike other communities does not impose a business tax or machine or equipment tax.

Coun. Tanya Handley said although she supported the bylaw, she believes there is still room for more belt tightening during budget time.

“I am hoping we can do better next year and see that number come in lower,” said Handley.

Coun. Buck Buchanan said he called the rate fairly good and obviously he would like to see it at zero. Buchanan said he is optimistic there will be some good coming out of the social master plan and other initiatives in the city and province.

“The fact that it is minimal is good and yet there is still some people that it will affect,” he said.

While it was not a tax issue, Coun. Dianne Wyntjes raised concerns about the rising utility costs that impact households, something the city has limited ability to reduce the changes.

“I think it is something we continuously need to monitor when we think about each household … specifically … seniors,” she said.

Property tax notices will be mailed on May 21. Taxes are due on June 30. Payments made after this date are considered late.

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