RED DEER COUNTY – Citing the pressures on residents and businesses created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Deer County council has kept 2020 tax rates unchanged from 2019.
Council passed final reading of the 2020 tax rate bylaw at the May 12 council meeting. It received first and second reading last month.
A reduction in assessments means the county will actually be collecting two per cent less in taxation in 2020 compared with 2019.
“We are not interested in creating any more burden on the taxpayer than they already have,” said Mayor Jim Wood. “We are doing our best to ensure that municipal taxes will not create a burden on our residents and business owners.
“We have a huge reduction of assessment. We are looking at $2 million less revenue and we’ve tightened our belts and are trying to find as many efficiencies as we can, trying to help our ratepayers and our business get through this tough time.”
The 2020 tax rates are residential at 2.6816, farmland at 7.9460, non-residential at 10.9465, protective service at 0.65, and community service at 0.0760.
Special levies and requisitions are seniors housing levy of 0.0196, provincial education requisition (non-residential) of 3.9305, provincial education requisition (residential and farm) of 2.6266, designated industrial property of 0.0760, and policing requisition of 0.0915.
During the April 28 meeting council withdrew a proposed 2020 environmental levy, creating close to $1 million in tax savings.
Council has approved a program that will defer penalty charges until Oct. 1, instead of the usual July 1.
The 2020 tax rate bylaw would also reduce the penalty rate from six to four per cent for the 2020 taxation year.
“When we are past the COVID-19 we will be ready to continue to have a very vibrant economy going forward,” said Wood.