City council green lights 2012 tax rate

City council has approved the 2012 Tax Rate Bylaw, which sees an increase of 5.05% with no division between classes of tax payers.

Joanne Parkin, revenue and assessment services manager presented five options to council on April 23rd, each of which presented viable options for how to proceed with the tax rate bylaw.

“The City manager recommendation for 2012 is option number five which provides for the same increase in each class and improves the commercial ratio and ranking as an entrepreneurial city.”

Parkin explained that each option allowed for a slight shift in tax distribution.

Tax notices will be mailed out on May 25 with payments due by June 29. Payments can be made by mail, the drop box at City Hall, in person at City Hall, through the payee’s financial institution or through tax instalment plans.

City Manager Craig Curtis explained that if it hadn’t been for the provincial education tax the rate would have been in the 4.3-4.4% range.

“Because the education tax increased more than the City increase it created a significant difference from what the public may have been expecting to the final number.”

Curtis also said, though, that most people will not see the full increase because property values have changed so much as well.

Parkin said for clarity that it is important to note that the tax rate is only higher than what the public was expecting because the provincial portion rose.

“I am in favour of this option. I would certainly like to be as transparent as possible but none of the options are really going to be clear to anybody. But I do like that this will be equal across the classes,” said Councillor Paul Harris.

Councillor Tara Veer said option five with the overall increase of 5.05% reflects Red Deer’s desire to have a competitive business climate and also presents fairness to residential property owners.

“These numbers are a reflection of the budget we set in January. This is not over and above the original percentage that had been presented at that time,” said Veer.

The monthly tax increase for a $300,000 property under the proposed rate would be $10.61 for residential properties, $10.73 for multi-family and $19.08 for non-residential.

Council passed all three readings of the bylaw with Chris Stephan opposed.