Slight increases approved for 2017 Lethbridge property taxes

By Sam Borsato - @BorsatoSam on Twitter
May 9, 2017 - 11:32am Updated: May 10, 2017 - 11:30am

LETHBRIDGE - Residential and industrial property tax rates will see a modest increase.
 
Lethbridge's 2017 taxation bylaw passed second and third reading by City Council on Monday (May 8), as a requirement of Alberta's Municipal Government Act (MGA). Residential tax notices are expected to be mailed out by May 17.
 
On average, typical single family residences are up 2.5-per cent, multi-family properties increase by 2.3-per cent and industrial will rise by 2.4-per cent. Mayor Chris Spearman explained that these increases are actually on the lower end compared to previous years.
 
"We grew a little faster than we thought, and as we have a broader tax base then rates aren't impacted as highly... We don't have erratic market fluctuations in pricing, so we can be fairly predictable. That's one advantage of living in Lethbridge is that the tax increase are progressive, but it can be managed."
 
According to a City of Lethbridge media release, there seems to be a common misconception that when property assessments increase or decrease, there is a corresponding rise or drop in property taxes. However, that is not the case.
 
The City explained that only sufficient taxes are levied to satisfy the previously approved budget requirements, by adjusting the mill rate and applying it to the current assessment.
 
"We want to be seen as prudent financial managers, and we certainly recognize that people can't afford to continue to pay significantly higher than inflation tax increases," Spearman added.
 
Property tax payments can be made without penalty until the end of the business day on Friday, June 30. Residents can also enroll in the City's monthly tax installment prepayment plan to receive an incentive discount.
 
Funds collected through taxes are distributed to important services in the city, including police and fire, road maintenance, public transit, parks, libraries and arts and recreation facilities. A portion of property taxes also helps support the Alberta School Foundation Fund, the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division No. 4 and the Green Acres Foundation.
 

How should the city balance its budget?

Raise taxes
14%
Reduce spending
86%
Total votes: 22

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