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City looking to expand property tax assessment info

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The City of Grande Prairie is be looking at changing the text on municipal tax assessments to better explain where the money collected goes.

Mayor Bill Given tabled the motion at the Corporate Services Committee Tuesday. He says the questions about property taxes he regularly faces show there is a need for clarification.

“There has always been a significant amount of confusion about when somebody pays their tax bill how much of that comes to the City of Grande Prairie for city operations and how much of it goes to other places.”

“There may be some regulations about how that is handled, but the overall intent is to ensure that taxpayers are better informed,” Given adds.

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Property tax notices have three separate line items: City of Grande Prairie property taxes, Alberta School Foundation Fund, and Grande Spirit Foundation.

Given notes the City and Grande Spirit Foundation portions are fairly straight forward, with one used for municipal operations and the other for funding affordable housing and seniors. However, he argues that the Alberta School Foundation Fund could be better explained.

“The Alberta School Foundation Fund is the provincial government’s property tax. Essentially, they’re collecting property taxes at the local level which fund a portion of the cost of operating the education system in the province.”

The discussion comes after the delivery of the 2020 provincial budget, which saw the province’s education requisition increased by 4.2 per cent. That increase could end up costing Grande Prairie taxpayers upwards of an additional $2 million.

The 2020 municipal budget for Grande Prairie has already been approved with a tax rate increase of 1.25 per cent. However, Given says the decision from the province goes against the benefits they hoped taxpayers would see.

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