City council to take one last look at 2019 property tax rate

Property owners likely won’t get a last-minute break — or a surprise hike — on their 2019 property tax bill from the city.

A report going to city council Tuesday crunched the numbers, taking into account shifting economic forecasts, the recent annexation of lands south of the city, and other factors. It still came out recommending the 2.6 per cent increase that council landed on during its four-year budget deliberations in late 2018.

That means the typical homeowner will pay an extra $65 more on their property tax bill in 2019. The city uses a property worth $397,000 as its metric.

According to the report, the city is going to have an extra $3.8 million in tax revenue that wasn’t in the 2018 estimate, thanks to the properties in the annexed land, and development proceeding faster than expected in certain sectors of the city.

But the report also states that Edmonton police need an extra $500,000 for costs related to cannabis “that were originally approved on a one-time basis but are ongoing in nature.”

One tricky part of the puzzle is that the province won’t send the city its education tax requisition before the city has to finalize its rate and mail out assessments. Last year, the city paid the province about $480 million in education taxes. The total for 2019 is estimated to be anywhere between the same and $506 million. According to the report, the delay is in part because of the provincial election. The report recommends the city pass the tax assessment using the best available information, and make adjustments later on as needed.

Council will also be presented with a list of funding requests that were not debated during budget deliberations, or new funding requests that have since been put forward. The report detailing the requests is 22 pages long and includes everything from cash for Startup Edmonton programming, to ongoing funds for Alberta Avenue and Jasper Place revitalization work, to closing the funding gap needed to get a downtown district energy system underway.

The city distributes tax notices to property owners in May. To avoid late fees, the deadline for paying is June 30.

pparsons@postmedia.com

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