Edmonton city council approves 2021 property tax freeze, notices go out in May


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Edmonton city councillors have given final approval to a property tax freeze for 2021 despite an increase to the city’s provincial education tax requisition.

On Monday morning, council voted to keep the overall tax increase at zero per cent, as first decided in the 2021 budget approval last fall, by using $5.3 million in taxation revenue to offset the increased education tax amount. This is the city’s first tax freeze since 1997.

Without any change, the tax rate for non-residential properties would have gone up by 0.7 per cent and residences would have had a increase of 0.1 per cent. Mary Persson, the city’s chief financial officer, said the city is able to use assessment growth revenue to bring down the municipal tax portion and, in turn, offset the education tax requisition.

Although the provincial government implemented a education tax freeze for 2021, Persson said market value fluctuations and a lower amount collected in 2020 have led to the increase in Edmonton.

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“In an effort to maintain no overall tax increase, administration is recommending a municipal tax decrease of 0.7 per cent in the non-residential category as well as a reduction in the education requisition for both residential and non-residential properties,” Persson said in a report to council. “The resulting combined municipal tax decrease would be 0.3 per cent after factoring in no tax increase for the residential subclass approved previously in fall 2020.”

Coun. Mike Nickel was the only vote against approval of the budget. With the tax levy now approved, notices will be sent out to property owners in late May and taxes are due by June 30 to avoid late fees.

The tax freeze doesn’t mean that bills won’t go up or down for some property owners. That depends on changes to property assessment values, which owners were notified of in February. Properties with a typical assessment decrease will likely see their property tax bills on par with last year while those that saw a property assessment increase could see their bills go up, even with the tax freeze in effect.

Homeowners of a house around the $380,500 mark will pay about $2,669 in property taxes.

More to come.