Edmonton homeowners will be asked to pay in to the city’s neighbourhood renewal program again after the program’s levy was suspended last year to give taxpayers a break.
On Tuesday, city council voted to approve a 1.5 per cent levy in 2017 and a 1.4 per cent levy for the following year.
The dedicated property tax levy earmarks money for the maintenance of sidewalks and roads and is normally supposed to be set at one to two per cent annually.
“We have little choice in this situation if we actually want to fix the infrastructure,” Mayor Don Iveson said. “Our council’s been relentless in saying we have to look after our assets properly.”
The levy was suspended last year to provide citizens with some tax relief as the city hoped infrastructure funding from the federal and provincial governments would be enough to temporarily take the place of the levy but little to no money was able to be used for sidewalks and roadway projects.
Iveson said bringing back the levy was a responsible move that would be cheaper in the long run than getting “behind the eight-ball which happened before.”
The city says when the tax levy increase was suspended, funding was provided in part by funds that had built up in the Neighbourhood Renewal Program since 2009.
The city still needs to find $23 million if it wants to reach the targets originally set out for the program. Where to come up with that money is to be debated in budget talks set to begin next week.
-With files from Fletcher Kent.