Property taxes to rise slightly: City

Property taxes to rise slightly: City

City council passed first reading of a proposal that will increase the 2018 general municipal property tax rate by 2.67 per cent, however, Mayor Lee Pratt says that number is still not final and could be further reduced.

The reduction comes from the school tax rate — a rate administered by the provincial government — which was recently revised to help city staff lower the municipal property tax rate.

Essentially, once the changes are ironed out in the city’s budgeting processes, that should mean that the overall tax increase for a $300,000 property will be 2.0 per cent, according to the city’s finance department.

“A slight increase came up again this year,” said Mayor Lee Pratt, after council. “There will be a change on that because the school district’s tax levy has changed, there was an Order In Council from the Minister of Finance, which set that rate, but now they’ve come out and changed that, so it’s going to go down slightly from what was announced tonight and that will come out later in the news.”

The city’s budgeted revenues, and expenses, will reach $59.7 million in 2018, an increase in $1.4 million from last year.

Municipal property taxes make up 26.1 million of the budget, the majority of which comes from residential ($16.0 million) and business ($9.3 million) property taxes, which makes up 43 per cent of the funds required to operate the city. Distribution of additional tax rates also includes utilities, light industry and recreation/non-profit. Also included in the municipal tax levy is the city’s Road Dedicated Tax of $1.9 million, which is a $253,000 increase from last year.

“We haven’t cut any city services, we’ve done a lot,” said Pratt. “We’ve put in a road maintenance program, a dedicated road work with some sidewalk repair and filling in spots where they’re missing so we felt pretty good.

“There is an increase but the taxpayer is getting good value for that.”

According to a city report, residential and business class average assessed values increased by 3.076 and 3.621 per cent, respectively, over 2017. However, those values don’t necessarily move in the same direction for all properties within a class; some neighbourhoods have seen increases or decreases in assessed property values.

In 2018, all properties within Cranbrook municipal boundaries were assessed at $2.64 billion.