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Banff's overall taxes drop by 7.6 per cent

“This year we saw a significant increase in our Alberta school tax levy because our assessed values in town, based on the assessment from the middle of 2019, were relatively higher than the rest of the province."
Banff Town Hall 2
Banff Town Hall

BANFF  – Banff taxpayers will see a 7.6 per cent drop in their overall property taxes this year compared to 2019.

On Monday (May 25), council passed the amended operating and capital budgets in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and set the tax rate split at a level that equally shares the tax burden between residential and commercial ratepayers. Overall taxes include municipal taxes, the provincial school tax requisition and Bow Valley Regional Housing levy.

An average residential dwelling assessed at $451,100 would see an annual decrease in overall taxes of $157, whereas an average commercial property assessed at $6.55 million would see a drop of $6,898. 

Town of Banff officials were quick to remind residents that changes in tax bills are average and don’t reflect individual property tax changes.

“A property’s relative change in assessed value will impact the change seen relative to an average property,” said Chris Hughes, the Town of Banff’s director of corporate services.

“So if an average residential property increased by three per cent, but your property increased more or less than that average, your relative change will be different than that average property.”

In giving its final stamp of approval to the amended operating budget, council cut the municipal tax levy by 17 per cent compared to 2019 to $17.2 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating blow to the tourist town.

However, when factoring in a 15 per cent increase in provincial school taxes, a minor increase to the Bow Valley Regional Housing levy and Banff’s substantial growth in property assessment values in 2019, the overall tax levy will decrease by 7.63 per cent.

Before the pandemic hit, Banff had predicted an overall tax increase of 7.87 per cent.

“The 17 per cent reduction is just on the municipal requisition,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen. “We have no authority to alter the other requisitions.”

The education tax levy the Town of Banff must collect for the province of Alberta jumped by approximately 15 per cent this year and makes up 35 per cent of Banff’s overall tax levy compared to 28 per cent in 2019.

The municipality will collect $1.16 million more this year for the province, which also includes the 2019 under-levy of $125,881. That is $9.45 million split between residential, which pays $4.78 million, and non-residential, which hands over $4.67 million. 

“This year we saw a significant increase in our Alberta school tax levy because our assessed values in town, based on the assessment from the middle of 2019, were relatively higher than the rest of the province,” said Hughes.

“There was also an under levy last year due to the fact that the province hadn’t set their budget prior to our tax rate being set, so we had to estimate and there was an under estimation.”

Banff’s growth in property assessments was significant compared to the rest of the province.

The Town of Banff saw a total residential taxable assessment increase of 2.8 per cent from $1.85 billion to $1.9 billion. For non-residential, it was an 8.2 per cent jump from $1.24 billion to $1.34 billion. 

“The total overall taxable assessment for the Town of Banff has increased by five per cent from $3.09 billion to $3.24 billion,” said Hughes.

The Bow Valley Regional Housing requisition increased from $380,315 in 2019 to $380,855 in 2020 for an increase of 0.14 per cent. 

The Town of Banff has also extended the tax due date from June 30 to July 15. However, administration will come back to council for consideration of deferral of interest and penalties based on provincial government recommendations.

Cathy Ellis

About the Author: Cathy Ellis

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