City of Grande Prairie property owners could be facing an extra $2 million in taxes after the provincial government raised the education requisition by 4.2 per cent for 2020.
“It might not be well recognized by the public, but the province does have property tax, they collect it every year on your municipal tax bill,” explains Mayor Bill Given.
“There is a line that says ‘Alberta School Boards Foundation’, and what that means is provincial property tax.”
The municipal budget has already been approved with a tax rate increase of 1.25 per cent, but Given says the decision from the province goes against the benefits they hoped taxpayers would see.
“The budget that we approved for 2020 had a tax increase less than the rate of inflation, so we’ve been doing the hard work of keeping local property taxes in line, but we aren’t in control of the additional increase the province is passing on to taxpayers.”
In total, the rise in the education requisition will cost taxpayers in municipalities across Alberta over $100 million.
Given says city staff are also keeping an eye on a 25 per cent reduction in the Grants in Place of Taxes program. It helps municipalities provide service, based on property taxes the Crown would pay if the land wasn’t exempt from taxation.
In the past, Given explains, money for facilities located in Grande Prairie which require municipal staff hours to maintain, like the courthouse and the hospital, would be handed over in the form of grant money in place of the province paying property tax. With the decrease in funding, it will cost the city roughly $200,000 not currently budgeted.