May 30th, 2024

Medicine Hat property tax rates set for 2024

By Medicine Hat News on April 24, 2024.

City council has officially released property tax figures for 2024, which include a general increase of more than 4 per cent.--NEWS FILE PHOTO


City councillors approved a general property tax increase above 4 per cent this year while slightly increasing the portion of total taxes paid for by multi-unit housing properties.

The proposed increase was laid out in a budget passed in late 2023, but on Monday, council finalized mill rates and confirmed a staff recommendation that also keeps the relative tax burden of business owners and single-family homeowners the same.

Municipal tax increases come in at 4.4 per cent for all residential classes and 4.2 per cent for non-residential (commercial) properties.

Factoring in the provincially set education amount, bills will generally be between 3.4 per cent higher (for non-residential) and 5.4 per cent for multi-family.

Due to shifting assessment values however, the adjustments keep the portion of total tax paid by each class relatively stable.

“We believe it provides a fair distribution across all property classes,” said Lola Barta, the city’s finance director.

Including changes to the provincially set education amount, total bills will rise $133 for a median house, valued at $315,000, including $92 related to the municipal portion, to $2,962.

An apartment valued at $1 million would see the bill increase $562 in total, to $10,996.

A business property assessed at $1 million would have $680 added to municipal bills, but the provincial amount lowered by $8, bringing the 2024 bills to $20,426.

The 2024 budget calls for a 5 per cent increase in tax revenue, while staff had projected a 1 per cent rate of organic growth through new construction.

That figure came in at 0.7 per cent however, after a year of relatively slow activity, changing the requirement to a 4.3 per cent increase to the existing tax base.

The overall assessment rose to $10.5 billion in the city mostly due to higher property values, which factor against the mill rate set on Monday.

Final tax bills will be mailed in May. Taxes are due June 28.

Council members endorsed an option to generally maintain the existing tax distribution among the classes – non-residential accounts provide 38 per cent of the total taxes, single-family 59 per cent – while providing a slightly smaller increase for businesses in actual dollars.

“It keeps the tax ratio the same as previous year, and moves us along our goal to bring the (ratio) closer to 2,” said Barta.

“Tax ratio” refers to the comparison of tax rates between classes, a metric often pointed to by business lobbyists as a measure of fairness. In Medicine Hat, the rate remains at 2.38, meaning non-commercial rates sit at 138 per cent higher than the single-family rate.

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