PENHOLD – The town is reducing property taxes by 2.5 per cent for average residences in 2020.
Town council met for its regular meeting on May 11 and approved the reduced 2020 tax rate for Penholders following 2020 budget approval late last fall. With the tax rate set for 2020, the town sent out property tax notices to homeowners on May 15.
“For 2020 property taxes residents will see an average decrease of 2.5 per cent,” said Yargeau, acknowledging the new rate is the lowest tax rate since 2013 for a portion of the community’s residential homes.
Council was also told the 2020 budget was reworked to reflect changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the community to temporarily close the Penhold Regional Multiplex.
“It is a bit of a double-edged sword,” said Yargeau of the multiplex’s impact to the 2020 budget. “We have lost a lot of revenue because summer ice for us makes a lot of money. We were one of the few facilities around to have summer ice. But at the same time we have saved a lot of money by not having ice and by not having staffing costs and the costs associated with running the facility.”
Another big issue that dramatically impacted Penhold’s 2020 budget was RCMP policing costs from the province. In year one, the town will be paying $59,000 with it escalating to $180,000 by the fourth year, said Yargeau.
“It was something we were prepared for. In year for it is $180,000 that we had not previously accounted for,” said Yargeau.
In the meantime, Penholders facing financial challengers are expected to be pleased with council’s decision to approve a new tax penalty formula that is being touted as the lowest of its kind in Central Alberta.
Yargeau noted that typically most municipalities have penalty stages but the town has eliminated all of them except one for the end of December, and is set at four per cent on taxes owed.