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Council sets tax rates for 2019

Mill rates remain the same as 2018; Council plans to re-evaluate taxation in future years

Post Date:05/02/2019 8:07 AM

At the April 30, 2019 Special Council Meeting, Lac La Biche County Council approved 2019 property tax rates, keeping them the same as 2018.

The residential and farmland municipal tax rates are 3.00. The rate for non-residential properties in the Urban Service Areas (in and around the hamlets of Lac La Biche and Plamondon) is 10.00, and the rural non-residential rate remains at 18.3647. The tax rate, also known as the mill rate, determines what amount per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value is taxable. The County’s tax bill also includes provincial requisitions to fund education and seniors’ lodges, but these are outside the County’s control.

Keeping the mill rates the same decreases the amount of 2019 tax revenues to $63,514,206, a reduction of $785,794 in comparison to 2019 budgeted tax revenues of $64,300,000. Property assessments have gone down slightly, which means that, although property tax rates have remained the same, the overall tax revenue that the County receives is less. The loss of revenue will be absorbed in the 2019 accumulated surplus. Council plans to seek efficiencies in the 2020 budget.

The County’s other challenge is that, according to Alberta’s revised Municipal Government Act, municipalities are required to achieve a 5:1 ratio between their highest and lowest tax rates (though there is currently no specific timeline for implementing this change). The County’s ratio sits at 6.12:1, the same as it was in 2018.  

“There will be a loss in assessment, which means that we’ll look at further efficiencies in 2020. In the meantime, we can absorb the loss in the 2019 budget,” said Mayor Omer Moghrabi. “Council and I plan to take a hard look at taxation next year, keeping in mind the economic climate and the budgetary challenges that we face. We’ll have to consider our options in order to maintain our high levels of municipal service in the future.”

Official tax notices will be mailed to all ratepayers later this month. The deadline to pay taxes without incurring penalties is July 2, 2019.