Hand in my pocket – Metro US

Hand in my pocket

Calgary homeowners will have to dig deeper this year as council gets ready to approve a property tax hike that will boost the average annual bill by $95.

When the city’s municipal tax grab is combined with this year’s provincial education take, the average taxpayer will be facing a 4.6 per cent hike, which for a median assessed property worth $427,500 will mean a $2,138 bill in 2009.

On Monday council will debate the increase but Mayor Dave Bronconnier said were it not for the province continuing to pull millions out of Calgary every year, residents would have enjoyed no property tax hike at all this year.

“Municipalities in their current form are not sustainable and you don’t have to keep asking taxpayers for more money,” he said.

“If the province were to leave the local property taxes at the local level, we wouldn’t have to have any of these public debates.”

Out of every property tax dollar, 52 cents will remain in the city while the remaining 48 cents goes into the province’s Alberta School Foundation Fund to be redistributed to school boards.

Alberta Municipal Affairs spokesman Jerry Ward said while Calgary taxpayers will hand over $580 million from property taxes this year, the local public and separate boards will be given a cheque for $1.24 billion.

He noted despite Bronconnier’s ongoing call for the province to drop its annual grab of property taxes, that isn’t on the government’s radar.

Ald. Ric McIver said he plans to renew his opposition to this year’s budget and the associated tax increase on Monday because it’s still more burden than taxpayers should have to bear.

“When you look at that $95, it doesn’t come close to what the real charge is when you include another $8 per month for recycling and $4 for garbage,” he said.

“If the province chooses to fund us a bit better that doesn’t excuse us for looking where we can to save the taxpayers money.”

More from our Sister Sites