Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Equalized Assessment / Thank you Calgary

Council received a copy of a letter sent to the Alberta Municipal Government Board by Mr.
Gordon Sharek, Q.C. of Sharek Logan Collingwood vanLeenen, advising of the Withdrawal
and Discontinuance of the costs application brought by the Minister of Municipal Affairs
against the City of Calgary’s appeal of its 2005 Equalized Assessment. The letter also
advised of the Withdrawal and Discontinuing the Equalized Assessment appeals filed by theCity of Calgary for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The province a number of years ago required all municipalities to start taxing home owners on the current market value of their properties. Assessors have very tight parameters regarding market value that they must adhere to. Per housing class they have a 10% range they must fit into. They have to fit between 95% and 105% of market value with their assessment and that must be proven to the province.

The city of Calgary, being the new centre of the universe and all, felt they should not have to apply those principles in their taxation process and for a time they didn't. This of course put a strain on all the municipalities that did because the money the province budgets for schooling is collected by municipalities for the province with property taxes. What this meant, is that all the municipalities that followed the property tax rules were subsidizing the lower residential tax rates in Calgary. Much of the property tax paid in smaller municipalities went to pay for schooling in Calgary. The first paragraph in this post means the City of Calgary has finally agreed to play by the rules (I believe they started last year) and a couple of weeks ago the Calgary Herald reported on a tax revolt in the city because many residents received a 10% or more increase in their property taxes. Glad I am not an alderman in Calgary right now but the city did do the right thing. I hope Calgary's Aldermen continue exercising the taxation powers granted to them by the Municipal Government Act before looking at generating revenue from the rest of us.

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