2.6% property tax increase passed by Edmonton city council

Click to play video 'Edmonton budget talks and tax debate' Edmonton budget talks and tax debate
There was some frustration at Edmonton City Hall as councillors debated how tax dollars are spent and as all the little requests added up. One councillor voiced concerned as council passed the 2.6 per cent property tax increase. Vinesh Pratap reports.

On Tuesday, Edmonton councillors finalized and passed the annual budget, confirming property owners will see a 2.6 per cent tax increase to cover costs.

READ MORE: City will take over enforcement from Edmonton Humane Society

In a news release, the city said council “worked hard to hold the line on existing programs and services and keep increases to the base budget below inflation.”

Council increased investment in areas including the Valley Line LRT, alley renewal, Edmonton Police Service and transit safety and security.

More funding was added to revitalize Alberta Avenue and Jasper Place, to cover some animal control services and to address the old Northlands building and Exhibition Lands.

“There will be some costs and then there will be some recovery. It’s really a cash-flow issue here in addition to an obligation to secure the site,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

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City council approved some additional spending items but only ones the mayor said the city can afford due to some additional money in the bank.

“Growth of the property tax base was a little bit bigger than expected and so that offset some other costs and, in the end, it comes out in the wash,” Iveson said. “Really, it created space in future years because of our smoothing strategy. But it’s good news and it gave us additional flexibility over the four-year cycle.”

READ MORE: Council settles on 2.6% Edmonton property tax increase for next 4 years

Once the provincial education tax is blended in, Edmonton taxpayers will be looking at an increase of 2.7 per cent.

“Property taxes mean value for Edmontonians,” said Acting Deputy City Manager Roxanne Kits. “They translate into services people rely on and amenities that help them live well, every day.”

For an Edmonton home valued at $399,500 that experienced the average assessment change, the 2019 budget will provide services for just over seven dollars per day, or $2,586 per year, an increase of $76 over 2018, the city said.

Watch below (March 20): The federal budget was released on the same day Alberta’s provincial election was called. Both announcements have the municipal government reminding residents to “ask about Edmonton.” Mayor Don Iveson joined Erin Chalmers to talk about that. 

Click to play video 'Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson on federal budget; provincial election call' Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson on federal budget; provincial election call
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson on federal budget; provincial election call

— With files from Scott Johnston