City of Lacombe finalizes 2019 property tax rate

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City of Lacombe taxpayers will officially see a 2.8 per cent rate increase this year.

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, council gave second and final reading of the tax rate bylaw, which officially sets the property tax rate at the 2.8 per cent approved in December.

The amount equates to $138 per year or $12 a month on the average home assessed at $380,006, while the average non-residential property assessed at $773,069 will see an increase of $361 per year.

Mayor Grant Creasey said he was happy that no adjustments needed to be made to the rate council originally approved.

“Once again, that does point towards a genuine commitment of both administration and council to stay on track and keep those increases manageable and below the CPI (Consumer Price Index),” he said. “I’m not going to suggest luck is a factor – it’s in fact more good management…We’re glad the overall picture turned out to be a positive one.”

The bylaw is expected to generate $20.06 million in municipal taxes as well as requisitions for public and catholic schools and the Lacombe Foundation, as well as designated industrial requisition.

School requisition

While the tax rate is approved, school requisition is still unknown.

Scholl requisition, which is collected by the municipality on behalf of the province, is usually decided with the release of the provinicial budget. However, due to the recent election and the previous NDP government choosing not to put forward a budget before they called the election, decision on that figure likely won’t be made until the fall, and city administration were forced to estimate the figure based on historical figures and trends.

“It’s perhaps a little short sighted of any government to not have addressed that prior to leaving,” said Creasey.

“It’s unfortunate we’re in a position whereby we can’t plan where a potential increase may be and it’s very unfortunate when every single municipality in Alberta faces the same thing. It makes it very difficult. It becomes unfair, not only to the ratepayers who are responsible for the final bill, but for administration to manage that to make up for an overage or underage.”

School requisition was estimated at six per cent for residential for a mill rate of 2.6688 per $1,000 and eight per cent for non-residential for a mill rate of 3.8972 per $1,000.

Tax notices will be mailed out by the end of May. The property tax deadline to avoid penalties is July 2, 2019.