Nobody likes paying taxes, but the City of Edmonton is hoping an online tool will at least help people understand what services they’re getting for their money.
Property tax notices were mailed out a few weeks ago.
Residents can input the assessed value of their home into the Property Tax Calculator online and see exactly where their municipal tax dollars go.
“I think on the municipal side, a lot of the money that you pay goes directly to the services,” said Rod Risling, a branch manager with the city’s Assessment and Taxation department. “I hear a lot from people when they pay provincial or federal income taxes, it goes into a big bucket and a lot of people don’t really see where their money is going.
“The good thing on the municipal side is you can see specifically, every day, the services that are out there, you’re receiving some benefit from them.”
According to the city’s website, the top three services supported by property taxes are police, transit and fire rescue. It also breaks down how much of your taxes go towards things like snow removal and public rec centres.
Risling also says the tool can help clear up some misconception about municipal taxes.
“One of the bigger ones is I don’t think people really understand that about 30 per cent of their property tax bill actually goes to the provincial government to fund the education system.
“A lot of people think that because the City of Edmonton sends out that property tax notice, every dollar is actually going to fund municipal services and that’s not true.”
The tool isn’t new, but it’s getting some attention thanks to a recent tweet from the mayor.
“It’s been one of the tools that we’ve used for a long time and I think it’s one of our most popular sites,” Risling said.
“People are paying a lot of money for property taxes and actually having something that’s fairly easy to use and to see a quick snapshot of where their dollars are going and what services they’re getting for their dollars I think is a pretty big hit.”