Slave Lake town council last week gave all three readings to the town’s 2021 tax rate bylaw. This clears the way for property tax notices to be sent out.
Mill rates for each class of property are part of the bylaw. These are the numbers, that when multiplied by the assessed value of a property, give the tax amount.
The rates are adjusted to collect exactly what council has decided is needed to run the town for the year. As already reported, council (in consultation with town administration) has come up with a budget requiring no increase over last year’s budget amount. This does not mean everybody’s taxes will stay the same, because that depends to some extent on whether the assessed value of their property went up or down (or stayed the same).
Overall, the value of taxable property in Slave Lake is down over the previous year, council heard. Residential dropped by $853,000; commercial and industrial by $5.8 million. Linear assessments are slightly up.
The seniors’ requisition amount is the same as last year; the education requisition is actually down, by about $120,000.
Councillor Julie Brandle made the point that the ‘assessed value’ of a property provided by the town’s assessor is not necessarily the same as what someone’s house might sell for right now. For one thing, the assessor takes into account various factors, one of them being a strict formula prescribed by the province.
For another thing, the assessment represents a best guess at the time – which was somewhere in the middle of 2020. As mayor Tyler Warman pointed out, the value of a property from a real estate perspective is one factor only: “what someone will pay for that property.”