Residents likely facing a 5.34 per cent tax increase this spring

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Town Council gave unanimous first reading to its 2012 Property Tax Rate Bylaw, the necessary ingredient to provide the funding for the budget council passed last December. That budget called for $6.8 million in revenue to fund Morinville’s 2012 expenditures and debenture payments.

But when rate payers receive their 2012 property tax bills this spring, municipal taxes are only a portion of the bill. Morinville has received a $2.5 million requisition from the province for the Alberta School Foundation (ASFF) as well as a $98,000 requisition from the Sturgeon Foundation, the organization that runs seniors facilities in Morinville, Legal and Sturgeon County.

Morinville’s Chief Financial Officer, Andy Isbister, told Council the anticipated increase in municipal taxes over 2011 will be 4.05 per cent, a number in keeping with what Council had discussed in its 2012 budget discussions. However, the addition of the schools requisition and Sturgeon Foundation requisition will elevate that anticipated increase to 5.34 per cent more in taxes than was asked for in 2011.

Isbister said the average home in Morinville rose from $275,968 in 2011 to $281,957 in 2012, an increase of 2.17 per cent. As such, the average Morinville rate payer can anticipate paying approximately $2,525,49 in municipal taxes and requisitions this year, an increase of $128.12 from 2011 figures.

The CFO said while municipal taxes where no surprise and on track with what had been discussed last winter, the school requisition came as somewhat of a shock. Council had anticipated a school requisition and Sturgeon Foundation requisition increase in the neighbourhood of 2 per cent each; however, both came in at a 12 per cent increase from last year.

The average home in Morinville will pay $663.31 in school taxes in 2012, an increase of 8.93 per cent over 2011. Sturgeon Foundation funding will increase from $24.06 to $26.31, an increase of 9.6 per cent over 2011 figures. Isbister said school requisition amounts are set by the province and Council has no input into those numbers. what those numbers are get determined when the provincial budget is passed. The CFO explained the province did not change the mil rate on education funding, but instead passed on a rate reflective of the total market growth in the province, which was 12 per cent.

Morinville’s property assessments topped $1 billion for the first time in 2010. That figure increased to $1,056,211,070 at the end of 2011. Isbister attributed the growth to new properties and improvement to existing properties as well as market adjustments. The Town says real growth in 2011 accounted for a 3.99 per cent increase in Morinville’s total assessment; market growth an additional .76 per cent.

The Property Tax Bylaw is set to go before Morinville Town Council Apr. 10 for second and third reading, after which 2012 assessment notices will be sent to residents.

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