The City of Lethbridge is mailing out property assessments a little differently this year and it caught resident Andrea Passey by surprise.
“We had no idea. We have never got one and we have lived here for three years, so it was super shocking.”
The city used to combine the property assessment and tax notice in the same mail out. Starting this year, those notices are being mailed out separately.
“You can actually appeal your assessment but you can’t actually appeal your taxes, so in order to be more transparent, we wanted to send it out early so people have an opportunity to look at it before that tax rate is set,” said manger of assessment and taxation, Larry Laverty.
Typically, the higher the value, the higher the tax notice, but for Passey, the spike in her assessment was good news — increasing thousands more than she expected.
“Just being a first-time home buyer, we had no idea it could fluctuate that much in three years.”
The assessment is based on a number of factors like any permits requested through the city, construction completion, new amenities likes schools, parks, and businesses and even real estate numbers.
“We look at all of the sales that have occurred in those neighbourhoods and we assess accordingly. We have to adjust for each property type but we do look at the property value, that’s a driving force behind the assessment, the market value,” Laverty explained.
The assessment doesn’t always go up; it can go down, but Laverty added the Lethbridge market has seen a steady increase over the last several decades. If someone received an assessment they aren’t happy with, he said let the city know.
“We will sit down and discuss your assessment with you. If need to, we can come to your home and assess it and take another look at it there.”
Any complaints have to be filed within 60 days of the assessment notice date.
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