At its regular meeting held this week, Cold Lake City Council set the municipal tax rates for 2021, which will result in a near-zero tax increase of 0.08 percent.
The residential tax rate is set at 8.8555, the multi-family residential rate is 8.9470, and the non-residential rate is 12.7975. All qualified, annexed properties will be taxed at the rate set by the Municipal District of Bonnyville or the City of Cold Lake, whichever is lower, as per the annexation order approved by the Lieutenant Governor.
The City says these rates will generate about $20.65 million from properties within the city to balance the City’s $53.9 million 2021 operational budget. In 2020, the City’s operational budget stood at $53.5 million with $20.62 million collected from municipal taxes.
“Council was especially careful to hold the line on our operating budget, knowing that we are in challenging, unprecedented times,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “Municipal budgets are always about balance and we had to juggle our operational requirements with the need to support our residents and businesses while also planning for the future. Looking at both our operational and capital budgets, I’m confident that we have found that balance.”
The tax rate is a factor used per $1,000 of property value to determine the amount of taxes a property pays for municipal services. Taxes are based on the assessment, which means that a tax rate increase or decrease does not necessarily mean an increase or decrease in the amount of municipal tax a property owner will pay compared to previous years.
When the provincial school board and seniors’ requisitions are included in the total property taxes, the average residential property in Cold Lake will see a 0.68 percent decrease in taxes while the average non-residential property will see a 0.96 percent decrease. These requisitions are set by the province.
“Although we continue to face economic challenges that have been deepened by the global pandemic, we remain optimistic for our city and our region,” Copeland said. “Canada’s Future Fighter Program will bring significant investment and opportunity to Cold Lake, and the resiliency and innovation shown by our local business community and industry will ensure a strong future. Cold Lake is ready to take full advantage of that future as we prepare our infrastructure for future residents and businesses while taking what steps we are able to support the businesses that have helped build our community and serve our residents.”
On average, assessments in the city of Cold Lake dropped by about 6 percent, said City officials. Owners whose assessments are in line with this average will pay the same amount of taxes as last year, while property owners who did not see as much of a drop will pay more. Those whose assessment dropped by more than the average will pay less than the previous year.
The 2021 City of Cold Lake Budget includes $16.02 million in revenue from the former ID 349 under the new revenue-sharing agreement, $2.1 million from the City of Cold Lake and M.D. of Bonnyville Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework, and a $1.2 million allowance to cover the disputed Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT). The PILT dispute has been ongoing since 2012.
Tax notices will be mailed by the end of the month with a June 30 due date.