Gateway Gazette

High River Council Approves 2020 Property Tax and Extends Due Date

Town work will continue without adding more stress to residents during global pandemic

HIGH RIVER, AB: High River Council approved 2020 property taxes at the May 25 Special Online Council Meeting. Considering the financial hardship affecting many residents, Council authorized a zero-tax increase and a 60-day extension for payment for property owners. Under the approved Property Tax Rate Bylaw 4575/2020, municipal and education taxes will now be due on August 31, 2020.

At their May 11 Special Meeting, Council unanimously voted to reduce the 2020 approved budget by $630,000. The resulting reduction of tax revenue required will minimize the financial impact of COVID-19 on taxpayers. In addition, this enabled Council to eliminate the earlier approved 2.8% tax increase noted in the approved 2020 Town Budget. Council approved a zero-tax increase for the Town for 2020 to further reduce stress on taxpayers at this time.

“There’s no doubt this is an unusual year requiring us to adapt and focus on priorities, which include making sure we don’t add stress to our residents who are already coping with a global pandemic,” noted Mayor Craig Snodgrass. “The bottom line is that the Town work will continue. With some adjustments we can ensure no changes to service levels and will carry on with the amended approved operating and capital budget items.”

Overall, there will be no increase in tax revenue for the Town based on this revenue neutral approach adopted by Council.

  • Total tax revenue generated for the Town amounts to approximately $20.3 million.
  • This includes Municipal tax revenue in the amount of $14.3 million plus Provincial Education and Senior tax levies of $6.0 million.
  • From the $14.3 million municipal tax revenue, $3.5 million will be transferred to reserves to maintain capital assets in line with the approved 2020 operating budget.

Property tax notices and a newsletter to taxpayers will be mailed on June 1, 2020, with due date of August 31, 2020 for property owners not on Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP).

Implication of revenue neutral approach (zero-tax increase) to property owners: A zero tax increase does not mean individual property owners will pay exact amount paid in 2019. Property taxes are based on their 2020 assessment values. Overall, there is a zero-tax increase for the Town. If there was an increase in the assessed value, there will be a slight increase in property taxes. Those who saw a decreased assessment value may see a reduction in property taxes for 2020.

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