By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Property owners are set to pay 3.68 per cent more in total property taxes than they did in 2012 now that Council has passed second and third reading of the 2013 Property Tax Bylaw. Council had given first reading to the bylaw Mar. 26, at which time it was revealed the owner of the average Morinville property could expect to pay about $100 more on their spring tax bill than they did last year
The municipality must collect $7.2-million from ratepayers to satisfy the needs of the 2013 budget as well as a $2.9-million assessment for the Alberta School Foundation (ASFF) and a $103,000 requisition from the Sturgeon Foundation, the group that runs Morinville’s Heritage Lodge.
The average property in Morinville dropped from $281,957 in 2012 to $281,856 for the 2013 taxation year. Based on those numbers, Morinville’s Chief Financial Officer Andy Isbister believes the average property will pay $1,858.72 in municipal taxes this year, a 1.25 per cent increase over what they paid in 2012.
While the municipal tax line shows a 1.25 per cent increase this year, additional line items boost the final spring tax bill to an approximate 3.68 per cent increase.
The Sturgeon Foundation requisition has increased by 1.88 per cent, an amount that will raise the average property tax line entry from $26.37 to $26.86.
School taxes are determined by the province and collected by the municipalities. Morinville’s ASFF requisition is $353,344 more than 2012. The average residential property owner will pay approximately $732.95 in school taxes in 2013, $69.74 or 10.5 per cent more than they paid in 2012.
School requisition figures have been steadily increasing each year since 2009. The school requisition increased by 12 per cent in 2012 over 2011, 11.75 per cent in 2011 over 2010, and 10.4 per cent in 2010 over 2009.
At the time of first reading of Morinville’s tax bylaw, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec said this year’s school requisition increase is the result of the government levelling the playing field throughout the province. Kubinec said the province has created a process of equalization whereby all municipalities are paying their fair share of the education taxes.
Councillor David Pattison took issue with the school tax portion of the tax bill and took an opportunity prior to third reading to make his feelings known. “I wish the province would take more responsibilities for the taxes they put on the municipalities,” Pattison said, adding the “Perhaps the province needs to consider taking its own taxes. I don’t know if we can realistically charge them an administration fee.”
Tax bills coming
With the increase in municipal taxes, ASFF and Sturgeon Foundation requisitions, the average Morinville property owner will see their spring tax bill increase by approximately $93.05 this year, a 3.68 per cent increase over 2012.
Property tax assessments will be mailed out in late April or early May. Taxes are due the end of June.