News / Edmonton

Edmonton property taxes going up due to provincial changes

Mayor Don Iveson says residents upset about the increase should ask their MLAs

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is seen in this file photo.

Metro

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is seen in this file photo.

Property owners will face a higher bill than what councillors pledged last fall, but Mayor Don Iveson said residents who are upset about it should take it up with their MLA.

The city collects property taxes, both to pay for its own services and to fund a portion of the school board's operations. Council set a budget with a 3.4 per cent increase in December, but that was before the province decided to raise the education property tax to 8.7 per cent.

That increase means the additional cost to property owners will actually be 4.9 per cent.

Mayor Don Iveson said its frustrating the city has to be the bearer of bad news for tax hikes they had nothing to do with.

“It’s really difficult for people to understand, so people get furious with us,” he said.

Iveson said he hopes if people are concerned about their increase they will take it up with their MLA.

“This city council will take no responsibility whatsoever for the tax increases that flow through from the provincial government,” he said.

Council was also forced to put more money into the budget because of provincial grants the NDP promised last year, but pulled back in last week’s budget.

Council had allocated the funds to the city’s neighbourhood renewal program and hoped to freeze the levy that supports that program, but Iveson said with the grants gone that won’t be the case.

“The assumptions that supported a two-year freeze on the levy probably no longer apply,” he said.

Coun. Michael Oshry said he wanted to support the renewal program, but said council should find another way to fund it rather than taxpayers.

“We can’t keep adding and adding.”

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