by Colin Smith
In the end, Councillor Scott Richardson received the tax information he was looking for.
During Council deliberations on Morinville’s proposed 2021 Property Tax Bylaw, which was adopted May 11, Councillor Scott Richardson asked Administration to provide information about the financial impact of potentially increasing the mill-rate split between residential and non-residential taxpayers to 1:2, without taking in more tax dollars from the non-residential sector.
The scenario presented to Council at its May 11 meeting showed an increase from the current 1:1.1 split to 1:1.2, average residential taxes would drop by $116.63, while average commercial would rise by $497.85 and average industrial by $439.68. There would be a $743,910 taxation shortfall.
The numbers received little discussion, as adoption of a 1% property tax option with residential/non-residential split kept at 1:1.1 was quickly moved and passed in a 4-3 split vote.
But Richards remained puzzled about an apparent discrepancy in the numbers. The information presented showed a higher average increase for commercial in the 1:1.2 than the proposed budget with its 1% increase. What he was after didn’t include a 1% increase, so that with only the change in assessment to be considered, all categories should be paying the same amount or less under the 1:1.2.
Having contacted Administration, he received a set of revised figures which he sent to local media. With the move to a 1:1.2 split and no 1% increase, residential property owners would see their taxes drop by an average of $204.62, while taxes would go up by $235.27 on an average commercial property and $2.45 on an average industrial property. The Town would see a projected tax revenue reduction of $1,092,327.
Council is set to debate the second and third reading of the mill rate bylaw Tuesday night with tax bills going out to residents and commercial property owners by the end of the month.