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Didsbury's tax rates up slightly in 2021

Mayor Rhonda Hunter calls the 2021 rates “fair and balanced” with all things considered
didsbury-news

DIDSBURY - Town council has approved the 2021 tax rate bylaw, which calls for a residential mill rate of 8.576, up slightly from 2020.

The move came by way of motion at the May 25 regular council meeting following the approval of an $11.6 million budget the previous week.

The total tax levy in 2021 is $4,727,454 on a total assessment of $548,315,680.

The residential vacant rate is also 8.576, the farmland rate is 8.576, the non-residential rate is 8,933, as are the non-residential vacant and the machinery and equipment rates.

Mayor Rhonda Hunter calls the 2021 rates “fair and balanced” with all things considered.

“I think it’s important to point out that revenue from tax overall is still down over the past four years, by $169,000 from 2018,” said Hunter. “We are always looking for the best balance, being mindful of what our citizens are going through in the pandemic.

"I do believe we’ve done the best that we can with the numbers in front of us this year. Our balance is going to come from our growth and development. We are heading in the right direction with that, with growth and development.”

A tax bill can be calculated by dividing the assessment by 1,000 and then multiplying the result by the mill rate. 

Last year the residential rate was 8.225 and the non-residential rate was 8.769.

Under the 2021 bylaw, residential/farmland covers 86.60 per cent of the taxes, totalling $4,093,975.

The total 2021 tax levy on the education side is $1,536,391 on a total assessment of $546,871,670.

The residential/farmland education rate is 2.686 and the non-residential rate is 3.655.

The Mountain View Seniors' Housing total tax levy is $213,621 on an assessment of $547,085,220.

The residential/farmland and the non-residential rates are both 0.3191.

The designated industrial property requisition tax rate is 0.0766.

Didsbury's assessment values were down by $15,641,000 for 2021 tax rate purposes, "making it difficult to hold tax rates the same as 2020," said Hunter.

New utility charges bylaw approved

Meanwhile, council has approved the new Utility Charges Bylaw 2021-03, which includes updated rates and fees for the supply and use of water, wastewater and solid waste services.

Under the general provisions of the bylaw, water and wastewater infrastructure fees are fixed and will cover debt coverage and future capital investment, and water consumption charges are variable and will cover the cost of water from the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission.

As well, water and wastewater distribution charges are variable and will cover the cost of operations and maintenance associated with the system, and solid waste fees will cover all costs associated with the solid waste utility.

The bylaw sets out residential solid waste service charges, water service charges, wastewater service charges, and miscellaneous charges.

Residential solid waste service charges are as follows: solid waste service fee of $19.59/month, additional black bin $7/month, additional blue bin $4, additional green bin $3/month and a change of service fee of $35 per change.

Water service charges include bulk water charge of $6.50 per cubic metre, infrastructure fee - residential $18.65/month, commercial/industrial $18.65/month, institutional $270/month, water consumption rate $2.40 per cubic metre water distribution rate $1.20/month, water meter testing deposit $200 each, water disconnect/re-connect fee $100 each, and water meter sales - all sizes cost plus 10 per cent.

Wastewater service charges include infrastructure fee - residential $9.10/month, commercial/industrial $9.10/month, institutional $130/month, distribution rate $1.10 per cubic metre, distribution rate for users without water service $18.45/month.

Miscellaneous charges include 1.5 per cent utility penalties on overdue balances, $200 each for non-resident account deposit, and 35 per cent over and above charges non-resident surcharge.

Regarding water and wastewater utility charges, the bylaw states that for residential use, infrastructure fees are charged to each dwelling unit, regardless of whether a unit is individually metered.

For commercial or industrial use, infrastructure fees are charged per metered account, and for properties deemed to be institutional in nature, infrastructure fees are charged per metered account.

Regarding solid waste service fees, the bylaw states that a solid waste service fee for residential garbage (black bin), residential recycling (blue bin) and residential compost (green bin) collection shall be determined annually.

The policy and governance committee reviewed and made revisions to the bylaw before recommending it to council.

Council passed final reading of the bylaw, with members present at the May 25 council meeting.