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Sylvan Lake Town Council approves unchanged municipal tax rate

A drop in property values will result in the average property paying slightly more in property taxes

Sylvan Lake Town Council passed the 2021 Property Tax Bylaw at the recent meeting of council, with no increases.

In February, Town Council passed the 2021 Budget which included the second year without an increase for residential and non-residential municipal taxes.

The 2021 Budget was passed “assuming that the market value of existing properties would be relatively unchanged from the prior year and assessment growth, or new assessment added, would equal approximately $20 million,” according to the report presented to Council Monday night.

The overall market value on existing properties dropped by 1.1 per cent from 2020, or nearly $30 million. Meanwhile the new assessment added for 2021 was just over $24 million.

The decision to leave the residential and non-residential taxes unchanged from last year was heavily affected by the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By not raising the tax rate for two consecutive years, the Town of Sylvan Lake continues its commitment to helping property owners recover from the financial effects of the pandemic.”

Additionally, the Town has chosen to forego a supplementary tax this year, as the local economy continues to struggle.

With the unexpected drop in market values from 2020, the Town is expecting to see a shortfall of $394,000 from taxes.

The shortfall will be made up from the “unrestricted accumulated surplus for the 2021 fiscal year.”

“Provincial education taxes have gone down marginally for the 2021 taxation year,” the Town said.

However, education taxes will rise slightly for Sylvan Lake due to the drop in assessment this year.

According to the report to Council, the education tax rate for residential properties is 2.5966 per cent and 3.8320 per cent for non-residential properties.

“The overall combined tax rates increase marginally for 2021. This in combination with the drop in property values, will result in the average property paying slightly more in property taxes in 2021.”

The municipal tax rate for residential properties for 2021 is unchanged from last year at 5.7440 per cent and 9.0248 per cent when the provincial education tax and levies are included.

Non-residential properties sit at a municipal tax rate of 10.1730 per cent, the same as the year before. This rises to 14.6892 per cent with the addition of the provincial education tax and levies.

Returning to pre-pandemic timelines, the Town will send out combined assessment and taxation notices at the end of May. The payment deadline is July 31, 2021.

“The Aug. 1 and Sept. 1 penalties of 7 per cent will once again be applied on outstanding 2021 balances at that time with a 14 per cent penalty being applied on Jan. 1, 2022 on all amounts outstanding.”