Council for the MD of Pincher Creek has passed a slight property tax increase through an amendment to this year’s budget.
The amendment, passed April 11, adds about $185,000 in taxes to the roughly $13.4 million in municipal revenue approved by council when it passed the 2023 budget last fall, an increase of just under 1.4 per cent, according to finance director Meghan Dobie.
Most of the extra revenue will go toward a $250,000 transfer to the MD’s Regional Community Initiative Reserve, a store of money set aside for capital projects and services MD residents access in the MD and town of Pincher Creek, Cowley and Crowsnest Pass, Dobie explained.
Just over $57,800 of the extra taxes will supplement the MD’s contribution to recreation services at the town’s Multi-Purpose Facility at 895 Main St. The MD pays for one-third of those costs every year, according to the current agreement between town and MD councils.
The tax bump pales against the roughly 13 per cent year-over-year rise in assessed residential property values across the MD. The assessed values of non-residential properties meanwhile swelled by around $125 million, a roughly 7.5 per cent increase over 2022. Both increases were driven overwhelmingly by inflation, Dobie said.
Property assessments determine a municipality’s maximum allowable tax base, but elected councils decide the rate at which residents and business owners pay municipal taxes each year. MD council dropped this year’s residential property tax rate by about nine per cent, while rates for farmland remained essentially unchanged.
The impact on individual taxpayers will depend on the class of properties they own, their assessed property values, and the property tax rates applied to those values.
Municipal budgets, also decided by councils, reflect the amount of taxes needed to maintain or increase service levels, pay down debt and put cash into reserve accounts, according to Municipal Government Act regulations.
This year’s tax increase is offset by initial cost projections for the Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission that came in roughly $166,500 above what the commission actually needs from the MD this year.