Country residential tax changes leap over final hurdle

By Tyler Marr
January 27, 2018 - 10:22am

A proposal to slowly lower residential taxes for properties across the river through money generated from new builds in the area has received a final stamp of approval.

The new tax scheme will see a lowering of the mill rate on properties around Nordale and around the airport to match that of the RM of Buckland. The current 27 per cent difference is said to be driving people out and thwarting construction.

For example, on a $315,680 property, a city tax bill would be $2,916.50, while the Buckland rate would be only $1,922.49. 

Previously, the proposal would have required the sale of around 40 properties to depress the taxation level to match the RM.

However, as many homes are valued over $500,000 — some closer to $800,000 — city number crunches have devised a formula that would see residents’ taxes drop faster and as early as 2019 based on individual sales. Any new builds will be taxed at the current Buckland rate.

The idea is crafted in part by Mayor Greg Dionne, who was deeply supportive. He said it will spur development across the river and create a tax base that is equivalent to the services residents over the bridge receive.

The program would only impact the general municipal levy and no other line items like the base tax or roadways levy.

“I have taken numerous calls and they have been saying thank you,” he said. “They have been asking for reductions for 15 years because they don’t get the same services as we do.”

According to administrators, of the 258 properties across the river, 70 per cent do not receive water and sewer services.

Coun. Terra Lennox-Lepp was mixed on the proposal but joined Charlene Miller in opposing it in a 6-2 recorded vote.

Lennox-Zepp questioned the affordability of the program should the RM mill rate drop. She also passed on questions from residents who raised concerns over the possibility of two homes on the same street worth the same amount receiving different tax bills. She feared it could hinder home sales.

“This is going to create a tax unfairness and can create problems for us in the future,” she said.

She argued to examine what services each individual pays but can’t access as a better way to adjust tax bills.

The tax decrease needs to occur over time, as lowering it all at once would short city coffers around $189,000. The mayor said it would not be reasonable to download these loses onto properties south of the river, something he said residents agreed with.

Addressing the home sale concern, Dionne said many residents see it as an incentive as they can pitch the fact the buyer's taxes will drop in the future.

“I think this is a good deal for everyone,” he added.

 

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