Big Lakes proposing 2.5% tax hike

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Municipal property taxes in Big Lakes County may be going up by 2.5 per cent in all property classes.

At a special meeting April 17 to approve the final operating and capital budgets, council gave the first two readings to a bylaw to increase mill rates for municipal purposes by 2.5 per cent.

A motion to proceed to third and final reading failed because the vote did not receive unanimous approval by the nine council members.

Council will consider third reading at its next regular council meeting April 24, Reeve Tyler Airth noted.

Administration proposes the mill rate for residential and farmland increase to 0.005064 from 0.004940 mills.

The bylaw also proposes the mill rate for non-residential, machinery and equipment, and linear properties and power generation to 0.016556 from 0.016152.

“No matter what we do with mill rates, increase them or decrease them, we’ll have to put some money towards bad debt,” Airth said.

Council approved a 2.5 per cent increase in the property tax mill rate for municipal purposes at its regular meeting Dec. 13, said Joey Sutton, manager of finance.

For a property assessed at $300,000, he says a 2.5 per cent increase would add about $37 for municipal taxes and overall municipal taxes by about $110 with the increased assessment value.

The proposed increase comes after council approved a 4.5 per cent mill rate increase in 2023.

CAO David Reynolds says the proposed tax increase of 2.5 per cent is minimal compared to other municipalities.

“Many municipalities across Alberta are looking at property tax increases greater than 4-5 per cent, some even nine per cent,” Reynolds said when the issue was discussed at the interim budget deliberations Dec. 4-5.

“We understand any increase in property tax can be a burden to our ratepayers.”

Big Lakes taxpayers got relief in their taxes in 2022 as council voted to freeze mill rates after a five per cent increase in 2021.

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