Taxes are going up for rural residents in the Bonnyville area.
The M.D. of Bonnyville passed all three readings of the Tax Rate Bylaw at the May 11 council meeting, which resulted in a 4.8 percent tax increase.
Part of the decision-making came from an Alberta Municipal Affairs requirement.
In January, a letter was sent to the M.D. from Minister Ric McIver explaining that in 2016 the Municipal Government Act was amended to shrink the differences between the residential and non-residential tax rates and that if the M.D didn’t go to a 5 to 1 ratio for the highest non-residential property tax rate and the lowest residential tax rate on their own accord, the provincial government would fix it for them.
At least, that is believed by CAO Al Hoggan, who councillor Ben Fadeyiw asked at the meeting if they were being required immediately to address the ratio.
“No, we did not have to. But we did receive a letter from the minister encouraging us to, and it’s my position that likely in the very near future, we’d have been forced to,” said Hoggan during readings of the bylaw. “It’s much easier to make that transition when it’s voluntary, and we can work with the numbers instead of being forced into it by provincial legislation.”
Three tax rate scenarios were presented, and the Committee approved the recommendation of the municipal tax rate, which establishes a 5:1 nonresidential to residential tax ratio using the 2021 nonresidential rate.
Council reviewed those options at an April 20th meeting.
“The biggest thing is we have to comply with the government eventually. And so that’s where it’s got to be at,” Reeve Barry Kalinski told Lakeland Connect, adding that cash flow has lessened in recent years.
“Residents haven’t had a tax raise in quite some time, it’s never easy, but we decided as a council to do it.”
In December, the M.D. passed a $110 million operating budget with a $50 million capital budget, including $36.4 million worth of capital projects carried forward from previous years.
Tax rates stayed the same in the previous budget year and 2020.