Families and businesses in the City of Wetaskiwin will be grateful for residential tax respite, as city council approved a one per cent drop in the residential municipal mill rate and an almost three per cent drop in non-residential at a special council meeting in chambers Apr. 30.
A staff memo presented by Lisa Novotny, manager of Engineering and Development, presented the councilors with multiple options for this year’s tax rate.
“Annually Council must pass a tax rate bylaw to impose property tax within the City of Wetaskiwin,” stated the memo.
“The municipal tax rates are calculated by dividing the budgetary needs of the community by the assessment. As the 2017 assessments, which are the basis for the 2018 tax year are complete, several tax rate options have been prepared for consideration.”
The memo went on to state, “The attached document outlines five (5) tax rate options which are: 1. Maintain the 2017 tax rates 2. Tax rates calculated based on the residential and non-residential proportions as identified in the 2018 budget 3. No change to the residential tax rate 4. A 1% decrease to the residential tax rate and the remaining decreased to the non-residential tax rate 5. Equalize the tax rate change for both residential and nonresidential properties.”
Councilor Dean Billingsley said he leaned toward option #4.
Councilor Patricia MacQuarrie agreed, stating it would equal a tax decrease for both residential and non-residential, but mostly non-residential, a balanced approach.
Councilor Alan Hilgartner stated option #4 would bring the residential and non-residential tax rates a bit closer and address the noticeable gap the City of Wetaskiwin has been those two rates.
Mayor Tyler Gandam noted the gap between the two rates, and efforts to bring them closer to parity, have been a focus at city hall for a number of years, not just this year.
The mill rates under option #4 were (residential) 8.999, in effect 1 per cent drop in the mill rate and (non-residential) 18.9330, in effect, a 2.87 per cent drop in the mill rate.
Mill rates are then factored with assessment to produce a property’s tax bill.
Councilors unanimously approved option #4 for the municipal tax rate.