by Colin Smith
The 2% increase in Morinville property tax in this year’s budget is below average for the years since 2009.
An analysis released by the Town Administration at the request of Morinville News showed the average increase over this period as 2.62%.
The highest increase was 4% in 2012 and 2019, while the lowest was 1% in 2018. Other increases came in at 2%, 3% and 3.5%.
The residential mill rate has climbed steadily over the years, from 5.9274 to 7.4663, and with it, the total tax take, up from $5,894,910 in 2009 to $10,397,816 in 2020.
In 2009, with a 1.2 split rate in force, non-residential properties were assessed at the rate of 7.086, which rose the next year, before dropping below 7 for the next eight years as Morinville went to an equal mill rate for residential and non-residential properties. In fact, in 2013, the rate for non-residential properties was lower—.99% of the residential property rate.
That changed in 2019 after Town Council decided to once again adopt a split mill rate. The 1.1% rate applied that year resulted in a mill rate of 8.0519 that year and 8.2129 in 2020. This was compounded with an abnormal 15% increase in non-residential assessments that year.
Residential property provides more than 80% of tax revenue, with the non-residential sector contributing from 12% in 2009 and 2012 to 15% in the last two years analyzed.
The 2% per cent increase this tear is down from an initially proposed 4%.
Council decision to hold the split between residential and non-residential mill rates, 1.1 rather than increasing it to 1.2 as called for in the Town of Morinville’s Long Term Financial Plan. The plan calls for the split to gradually increase to 1.5.
In 2012 the Vacant Non-residential Tax Rebate was introduced to stimulate and encourage the development of non-residential property. It applies to new development resulting from the new construction of commercial or industrial facilities.
The total amount of the rebate has risen from $3,814.73 in 2013 to $103,748.92 in 2020.
The analysis also considered utility rates, which have been based on a full cost recovery model since 2005.
Following increases of 6.7% for water and 5.4% for sanitary sewer in 2009, annual rate increases have been generally less than 3%, although water rates were up 4.4% this year, with 0% and .5% increases in 2017.
Solid waste disposal rate annual increases were similar, although 0% increases in 2015 and 2016 were followed by a 10.6% increase in 2017.
A new stormwater fee costs the average residential homeowner $5 per month in 2019, rising by 50% to $7.50 per month in 2020. Previously this was funded out of general taxes.