The town of Bonnyville was expecting bad news on this year’s property assessments at their council meeting last Wednesday, and that’s precisely what they got.
Property values used to calculate municipal taxes are determined about a year before the tax bills go out. That means for this year, property owners are seeing an average decrease in residential values around 3% and 2% for non-residential, which was for the period between July 1st of 2014 and July 1st of 2015. While that drop certainly isn’t great, things are looking really bad for next year. Barring a miracle, property values are expected to drop a further 8 to 10 percent.
That doesn’t mean residents will necessarily see lower taxes. The province has increased its education tax in the area, which the town has no control over.
“Next year is going to be a bit of a blow to the town of Bonnyville,” says Mayor Gene Sobolewski. The town has essentially zero tax increases this year on things it controls, but next year is going to be a major challenge to keep the same level of services going. Sobolewski is hoping for a brighter tomorrow though, “We’re hoping with some of the oil prices appearing to be rebounding, that things might be a little bit rosier here next year.”