Property taxes to skyrocket in Fort McMurray

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Property taxes to skyrocket in Fort McMurray

Wood Buffalo residents are now paying the most in the province when it comes to school taxes.

As a result of the 2013 provincial budget announced last month, caps on annual increases for requisitions on municipalities was eliminated.

Director of RMWB Tax and Assessment Brian Moore says for our region, this means education property tax payments were increased by 39 per cent to more than $16 million.

"For a typical home in Fort McMurray, this means just that provincial portion of taxes is going up by $408 for this year alone, and that’s only part of the story," says Moore. "This is only the first year of phasing, we’re looking at a similar increase with the provincial education tax next year. When you compare it to last year’s education tax, it's between a 91 and 96 per cent increase over two years."

Moore says the province wants residential school taxes to be increased by 47 per cent this year.

"When you get into real dollars ours by far is the largest increase in the province. They have increased our requisition by $16.3 million in one year without any forewarning."

Moore says the $408 is for the average household, while some families will be paying much more.

"I’ve worked in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, there’s usually much more transparency in the process than this, and usually what it is, is they phase out programs like this over much longer periods of time.

"This is a very significant increase in a very short period of time."

While Fort McMurray is seeing an increase in taxes, Edmonton and Calgary tax rates can expect decreases in the coming fiscal periods.

Moore says it's unfortunate that the municipality's attempts to keep taxes status quo have been thwarted by the province and says the new taxation formula will place an fiscal added burden on a population already facing elevated living costs.
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