Property values continue to decline in Bonnyville

Overall property value is down in Bonnyville. The team from Accurate Assessments presented this information to Bonnyville Town Council on Tuesday. Mayor for the Town of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski says with the most current assessment information in mind, council will now debate whether or not the current tax rate is sufficient to withstand the loss of revenue from the lower assessment values.

“To no one’s surprise, land values have gone down. We’re continuing to hurt in these economic times,” the mayor said of Accurate Assessment’s findings.

Residential Property takes 8% hit

The residential property values have dropped eight percent. Whereas the commercial property values are starting to flatten out, with only a three percent drop from the previous year. Lower property values translate into lower tax revenue for the Town, should the Town maintain its current mill rate (tax rate).

“That means come adoption of our annual budget, we’re going to be looking for more cash.” Sobolewski stated that council will have to do some “soul searching”, as to whether or not to increase the mill rate to account for the loss in revenue. 

Plan going forward

Sobolewski said that Town Administration has been tasked with discovering some options to make up the shortfall for council’s next meeting. Some options may include postponing a project, using monies in reserves or increasing the mill rate.

“I think in these tough economic times, I’m not one that needs to go for the tax increase. I think we need to look at what we’ve got because it’s going to be fairly tough. But we’ll have to see what council, as a body, decides because they’re the ones that decide,” said the mayor. 

Trends in assessment

An interesting note from Accurate Assessment’s presentation is that Bonnyville had one of the larger drops in property values. The mayor explained, “the assessor did comment that we were probably one of the biggest hits in terms of residential. St. Paul was five percent, Cold Lake was six percent, Fox Creek was very comparable to us at seven percent as well.”

The Town of Bonnyville has been on a steady decline in property value assessment since 2014. Residential has had a steady decline for about three years of about eight percent. During the same time period, the commercial assessment has been a little bit opposite. In 2014, 15, 16, there were significant drops in about six to seven percent, however, this year it’s only going down three percent, which lead the mayor to state that “it’s starting to flatten out a little bit”.