City council is set to vote on a proposed property tax freeze next week and while it’s good news for cash-strapped Calgarians in our depressed economy, some are still going to feel the pain.
For most it will mean municipal taxes stay the same or go down, but businesses outside the core could take a major hit.
Councillor Andre Chabot says a drop in the value of downtown properties by about 20 per cent is going to hurt businesses outside the core who will have to make up the difference.
“There’s going to be a commensurate reduction in value of downtown properties, and a very small decrease in property values in some of the outlying areas, so those people will have to pay a disproportionate share of that tax burden that will be relinquished from downtown properties.”
A 1.5 per cent property tax hike for next year is going to be offset by dipping into the city’s reserve fund for about 18 million dollars.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi points out that even if the tax freeze is approved, market value assessment means some residential property owners could still see tax increases.
“We’ve seen a decline in assessment base on the residential side of about four per cent so if your house goes down by four per cent you’ll pay the same as last year. If your house goes up in value, or it goes down by less than four per cent you’l pay a little more. If it goes down by more than four per cent you’ll pay a little less.”
Of course, residents could still face increases once the province’s portion of taxes is known.
The city has managed to find $183.3 million in savings. There will be reductions in the size of utility rate increases, as well as breaks on transit fares and recreation fees.