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MD of Bighorn sets tax rate increase after three years of decreases

Following three years of decreases, the tax rate for residential properties will increase by $18.97 for residential properties assessed at $500,000, or 2.13 per cent from 2022. Non-residential properties assessed at the same value will pay another $84.34, or 2.2 per cent.

MD OF BIGHORN – Assessment notices have been finalized and the MD of Bighorn passed its residential and non-residential 2023 tax rates at its most recent council meeting.

Following three years of decreases, the tax rate for residential properties will increase by $18.97 a month for residential properties assessed at $500,000, or 2.13 per cent from 2022. Non-residential properties assessed at the same value will pay another $84.34 a month, or a 2.2 per cent increase.

“The tax rate bylaw will allow us to collect the $7.47 million out of taxes that are required to meet the needs of the 2023 operating and capital budget,” said CAO Shaina Tutt at the MD’s May 9 council meeting.

Tutt further noted that in 2020, the tax rate was 1.893 per cent, while the 2023 tax rate is 1.817 per cent.

“Despite going up slightly from 2022, we are still lower than the mill rate we were applying back in 2020,” she said.

The finance and development committee recommended the residential and farmland tax rate be set at .001817359, while the non-residential rate was set at .006916119. The mill rate is set at 1.817359 for residential and farmland, and 6.916119 for non-residential. This will allow the MD to collect all tax requirements as approved in the 2023 operating budget. That tax requirement is an increase of 14.3 per cent from 2022, when it was $6.54 million.

Within the MD of Bighorn, there are several components to the overall tax rate. The general municipal rate, which is set by the MD, provides funds for projects and to run operations. The school tax rate, designation industrial property tax and municipal policing tax all come from the province. The senior foundation rate comes from Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH).

A staff report noted a residential property assessed at $750,000 would see a property tax bill of $3,278 for a decline of $310 compared to 2022 to 2023. While municipal taxes increased from $1,334 to $1,363, the education levy falls from $2,069 to $1,721.

For a residential property assessed at $1 million, property taxes would be $4,371 for a drop of $413 from $4,784. Municipal taxes would increase to $1,817 in 2023 from $1,779 in 2022. The education tax dips from $2,759 in 2022 to $2,295 in 2023.

A non-residential property assessed at $1.5 million would have its property tax bill in 2023 drop to $13,201 from $16,132 in 2022. Municipal taxes would increase from $10,121 in 2022 to $10,374 this year, but the education tax would see a significant decline from $5,642 in 2022 to $2,439 in 2023.

Reeve Lisa Rosvold questioned why the education and senior requisitions are lower compared to last year.

Tutt said the lower education requisition is due to the 2022 school requisition including an under levied amount from 2021 at about $200,000, therefore in 2023, ratepayers will see a noteworthy decrease in the levy.

“That’s why you see a significant decrease in the requisition,” she said. “The timing of the release of the budget from the province is how that affects our collection of the taxes for education.”

The requisition was released after the MD calculated tax rates, so the MD based requisitions on invoices from the prior year.

“When you base it on the invoices for the prior year, if they increase their requisition, then we under-collect, which is when you get an under levy, so then we have to collect it back the following year to make up for what we under-estimated, not over-estimated,” Tutt said.

Seniors housing collection is also down, she noted, because a portion of a loan BVRH is paying back has been fulfilled.

“[That] decreased because we need to collect less taxes for it.”

From 2022, when the tax revenue required for contribution to reserves was $888,472, it will fall to $655,844 in 2023. It will then rise to $734,297 in 2024, followed by a huge jump in 2025 to $982,908. According to the budget, the MD is forecasted to close 2022 with $12.82 million in reserves.

The main reason for the jump from 2024 to 2025 is an increase in the contribution to capital reserves from $85,297 in 2024 to $333,908 in 2025.

For 2023 capital projects, the MD has several potential projects planned, including improving the municipal administration building ($34,000), conducting an organization review ($50,000), and transportation needs assessment ($25,000).

The 2023 potential capital projects could come in at $3.3 million, with $2.1 million coming from reserves, $603,000 from taxes and the remaining $630,500 from grants.

In 2024, the forecasted capital projects are $2.5 million with grants covering $1.22 million, reserves $706,000 and taxes $560,000. The possible capital projects in 2025 are $7.05 million – largely due to the new administration building earmarked for that year – with $3 million from reserves, $156,000 from taxes and $400,000 from grants. There is $3.5 million outlined from another source.

Some of the biggest projects are the Pigeon Creek pedestrian bridge, costing $75,000, road rehabilitation at $400,000 and East Exshaw lane regrading at $210,000. The road rehabilitation will be covered by a provincial grant.

Administration said that is primarily related to the Mountain Gateway Project, which involves regrading lanes and creating a partial ditch for drainage.

The most expensive capital project will be the Exshaw stormwater improvements, which will begin in 2023 and continue into 2024. The cost for this is $750,000, which is coming out of reserves.

The increase in the mill rate from 2022 to 2023 is 3.5 per cent, while the operating expenses are a roughly 14.3 per cent increase from $6.5 million in 2022 to $7.5 million in 2023.

The municipality collected $6.54 million in taxes, which was a 2.89 per cent increase from 2021.

In 2023, the municipality will collect $7.47 million in taxes for its operating budget and five-year capital plan.

The bulk of the levy will come from non-residential properties in $6.22 million, with a further $1.24 million from residential and farmland properties.

The top three tax supported services are transportation at 19 per cent, administrative services at 12 per cent and fire services at 11 per cent.

According to a staff report, the total assessment value in Bighorn is $1.74 billion, with $1.58 billion of that being taxable.

The largest assessed values are residential at $680 million, while machinery and equipment is second at $435.1 million and non-residential is $323.1 million.

The seniors requisition for BVRH is $251,000 and $158,000 will go to rural policing.

The education levy is budgeted at $3.04 million, with $1.58 million coming from residential properties and $1.46 million from non-residential.

Council also passed its tax penalty bylaw for if a property’s taxes are unpaid after Dec. 31, 2023 a nine per cent penalty is added. According to a staff report, $37,802 was collected in tax penalties in 2022.

Council also approved $12,500 in unpaid water and wastewater utilities in Dead Man’s Flats, Exshaw and Harvie Heights, which would be added to the respective tax rolls.

Tutt said it was lower than previous years and the annual average is about $20,000.


2022: $$6.54 million

2023: $$7.47 million (14.3 per cent increase from 2022)

2024: $7.57 million (1.29 per cent increase from 2023)

2025: $7.62 million (0.64 per cent increase from 2024)


2022: $888,500

2023: $656,000

2024: $734,000

2025: $983,000


2022: $1.23 million

2023: $996,000

2024: $1.08 million

2025: $1.33 million


  • Exshaw stormwater improvements – $750,000 from reserves
  • Road rehabilitation work – $400,000 from grants
  • Fire chief command vehicle – $250,000 from reserves
  • Bush buggy replacement – $230,000 from reserves
  • Structural protection trailer – $220,000 from reserves
  • East Exshaw lane regrading – $210,000 ($125,000 from reserves and $85,000 from grants)
  • Exshaw area structure plan – $130,000 from taxes
  • Dead Man’s Flats Pigeon Creek pedestrian bridge – $75,000
  • Jamieson Road area structure plan – $70,000
  • Harvie Heights area redevelopment plan – $50,000


  • Exshaw stormwater improvements – $750,000 from grants
  • Dead Man’s Flats 2nd Avenue streetscape improvements – $500,000 from taxes
  • Road rehabilitation work – $400,000 from grants
  • Garbage truck – $225,000 from reserves
  • Harvie Heights stormwater improvements – $50,000 from reserves


  • New administration building – $4.5 million ($1 million from reserves and $3.5 million from other)
  • Bridge rehabilitation program – $955,000 from reserves
  • Road rehabilitation work – $400,000 from grants
  • Hooklift – $175,000 from reserves
  • Seven organic bins – $105,000 from taxes

—With files from Greg Colgan 

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.

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