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Wednesday , 6 July 2022

Council sets 2022 tax rates for average 3.15% increase

At its regular meeting held this week, City Council set the municipal tax rates for 2022, which will result in an average municipal tax increase of 3.15 per cent.

The 2022 residential tax rate is set at 8.7765, down from 8.8555 in 2021, the multi-family residential rate is 8.9312, down from 8.9470, and the non-residential rate is set at 12.7760 from 12.7975. All qualified, annexed properties will be taxed at the rate set by the Municipal District of Bonnyville or the City of Cold Lake, whichever is lower, as per the annexation order approved by the Lieutenant Governor.

These rates will generate about $21.37 million from properties within the city to balance the City’s $52.85 million operational budget. In 2021, the City’s operating budget stood at $53.9 million and the municipality collected $20.65 million in taxes to balance its budget. The 2022 Operating Budget includes a transfer to capital projects of $6.7 million.

“Council and administration worked hard to keep the tax rate increase to a minimum,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “With less money coming to the City due to assessment decreases on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, four years of at-or-near-zero-per-cent tax increases, and signals from the community that an aquatic facility should be in our future, council worked towards a vision where we can provide for our community’s future while also recognizing that increases in taxes need to be justified and minimized.”

About one per cent of the tax increase can be attributed to council’s strategy of phasing in the costs associated with an aquatics centre.

“Bringing these costs into the budget slowly over time will mean that the community does not see a large increase when the facility is built and comes online,” Copeland said.

The tax rate is a factor used per $1,000 of property value to determine the amount of taxes a property pays for municipal services. Taxes are based on the assessment, which means that a tax rate increase or decrease does not necessarily mean an increase or decrease in the amount of municipal tax a property owner will pay compared to previous years.

When the provincial school board and seniors’ requisitions are included in the total property taxes, the average residential property in Cold Lake will see a 1.3 per cent increase in taxes, while the average non-residential property will see a 3.5 per cent increase. These requisitions are set by the province.

“A lot of uncertainty remains in the national and global economy,” Copeland said. “But we know that a great amount of investment is coming to the community from the Future Fighter Program and the upgrades that need to happen on 4 Wing Cold Lake. We hope that this economic activity helps our local businesses and industry weather this storm so that our community will come out of these times ready for continued growth.”

The City of Cold Lake’s taxable assessment increased by $112 million over 2021. Growth due to new construction accounted for $18 million of that figure while the balance of about $94 million was due to an increase in the assessed value of existing properties.

The 2022 City of Cold Lake Budget includes $13.5 million in revenue from the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range revenue sharing agreement, $2.1 million from the City of Cold Lake and M.D. of Bonnyville Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework, and a $1.2 million allowance to cover the disputed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). The PILT dispute has been ongoing since 2012, and the City is awaiting a tribunal’s decision on the matter. A decision is expected later this year.

Tax notices will be mailed by the end of the month with a June 30 due date.

The City’s capital and operational budgets are available online at www.coldlake.com. Information on past tax rates and the municipal property taxes collected is in the City’s annual report, also available online.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.