By Tim Kalinowski on May 5, 2021.
Despite city council’s best efforts, taxpayers in Lethbridge are in for a property tax increase in 2021.
City council set its tax rates for 2021 at Tuesday’s meeting, and, as expected, the Municipal Tax rate will see a zero per cent increase this year. However, both the Education portion of the tax bill, (which is set by the province), and the Green Acres Foundation portion, (which is set by that organization), will both increase this year.
The provincial government’s Education levy was set to increase by 1.59 per cent over the 2020 rate, and the Green Acres requisition went up by 4.87 per cent. These combined with the Municipal portion of the tax bill will mean the average resident will see his or her property taxes increase by 0.41 per cent overall in 2021.
“Residents will notice increases because of increases to Green Acres and the provincial Education Tax, which have both gone up,” confirmed Mayor Chris Spearman during Tuesday’s council meeting. “So, despite our best intention, there will be an overall tax increase on the bill that goes out to our residents. But the municipal tax portion was maintained at zero from one year to the other on an aggregate basis.”
“People have to realize we only control that one portion, the municipal tax rate,” added Coun. Belinda Crowson. “The other two are not under the control of city council.”
Coun. Blaine Hyggen asked City Treasurer Hailey Pinksen if the non-residential tax rate of Municipal would also remain at zero per cent for 2021.
Pinksen confirmed that was the case, but not necessarily for ideal reasons.
“The market rate for most (non-residential) properties have decreased,” she stated, “and so there could be some changes individuals notice on their bill depending on their assessment value change has occurred.
“Based on this ratio the rate for non-residential is (2.44) times the residential ratio. Assuming the assessment value slightly decreases, they should see a zero in their municipal portion, but they will see increases related to Education and Green Acres,” she added.
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