Property tax rate bylaw receives first reading

Red Deer city council is one step closer to establishing its municipal property tax rates for 2014.

Red Deer city council is one step closer to establishing its municipal property tax rates for 2014.

Council gave first reading to a property tax rate bylaw that imposes a 3.87 per cent increase across the board for all property classifications on Monday.

The combined tax increase needed to fund the Alberta Education and Piper Creek Foundation requisitions and municipal tax requirements would result in a total tax increase 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.

Council will consider second and third reading of the bylaw at a special meeting on May 6.

Mayor Tara Veer said Red Deer has tried to increase its competitive advantage for businesses and residents.

She said the city needs to find the right balance between the two. Veer said the city does not have a business tax or machinery tax like other cities in Alberta.

“I think this accomplishes the right balance,” said Veer.

“What it says is that we are a business friendly community . . . . but we also want people to be able to afford to live here as well so they choose Red Deer.”

This year an owner of an average residential property assessed at $300,000 could pay $4.12 more each month bringing the annual tax bill to $2,607 from 2,550.

“As a city we continue to provide services in reflection of what we hear from the community,” said Coun. Lawrence Lee. “I think we have done that in our past budget deliberations . . . I think administration has put together a plan that reflects where we want this city to go and how we want it to progress.”

In other council news:

— The City of Red Deer has its financial house in order.

Auditors Robyn Eeson and Sallie Klein from KPMG LLP presented the city’s 2013 annual financial report to council.

“We had no concerns,” said Eeson “There was nothing that caused us to qualify our opinion so we were very pleased.”

The auditor’s report noted there will be financial operating and capital risks in the future because of provincial cuts to municipalities.

The audit was conducted in March and its findings were presented to the audit committee last week.

Eeson said six items were brought to the attention of the committee and the city. Three were the results of adjustments to the 2013 statements and three were for information or for consideration in future years.

Chief Financial Officer Dean Krejci said the city is in great financial shape.

“Overall we have seen improvement in our financial indicators,” said Krejci. “Our debt limit is reduced. Our reserves have increased. We have definitely improved our financial condition over the previous year.”

The city’s financial statements must be submitted to the province by May 1. The city’s audit committee is expect to bring a three-year work plan to council in June.

— A new annual publication highlighting the city projects, programs and events was revealed at council. The 2013 annual report ending Dec. 31, 2013, also takes a look at the city’s financial position in 2013. The report is available online at

— Coun. Buck Buchanan wants to make Red Deer more “age friendly” for all residents. According to the World Health Organization, “an age-friendly community is one where policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to age actively.”

Buchanan read a notice of motion calling on the city to review age-friendly initiatives already in place and to develop further strategies. Council will consider the motion at its May 12th meeting.

Just Posted

Physicians urge Ottawa to pay another $21B over decade for seniors health care

OTTAWA — Physicians are calling on the federal government to shell out… Continue reading

‘I didn’t want to do something frivolous’: Sting’s play to make Toronto debut

TORONTO — Drawing Canadian theatregoers to a politically charged musical about an… Continue reading

Japan, EU sign trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs

TOKYO — The European Union and Japan signed a landmark deal on… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales up 1.4 per cent in May

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales increased 1.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Former Mountie who fired Taser at Robert Dziekanski drops appeal of sentence

VANCOUVER — The former RCMP constable who fired a Taser at a… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month