Time to Pay Property Taxes

Time to Pay Property Taxes

Well citizens, it is that time of year again when property tax notices are in the mail. You have until midnight on June 30th to pay your taxes to the City, unless of course you pay monthly or through your mortgage, but that is not for today’s discussion. The purpose of this blog is to explain why a zero percent budget increase approved by City Council might not equate to a zero dollar increase on every resident’s tax bill. Let’s look at how three things: budget, assessment and taxation are pieces of a puzzle that fit together to determine your tax bill.

Budget Assessment Taxation puzzle pieces

Budget

The City budget is the first piece of the puzzle. This is the money needed to run the Fire Department, Public Works Department, Municipal Enforcement, Culture and Recreation, etc. and it comes from taxes, grants, fees and other revenue. Every year, Council and administration review the budget and make decisions on what stays in, and what gets removed. City Council approves a final budget in December for the next year of City operations.

Assessment

The next piece of the puzzle is individual property assessments. The City works with an assessment agency that reviews properties to document any changes that occurred over the last year. These changes could be a renovation or improvement to the property, damage or deconstruction of the property (as of December 31, 2020) or simply, a change in the purchase price (up or down) of a similar home in your neighbourhood (as of July 2020). The assessor is determining if your home has increased or decreased in value for any reason. This change in the value of your property can mean your taxes will be higher than the zero percent budget increase or lower.

Taxation

Taxation is the final piece of the puzzle and is how the amount each property owner must pay is decided. City Council approves a municipal tax rate that is applied to your property’s assessed value to determine what you owe in municipal taxes – your levy. At the same time, the provincial government determines the amount every Alberta municipality must collect on their behalf for education (it gets paid back directly to the Province). The housing foundation portion of the levy is requisitioned in accordance with the Alberta Housing Act and collected by the City on their behalf to help fund the Heartland Housing Foundation for seniors housing in Fort Saskatchewan.

Cartoon drawing of a house, calculator, charts representing taxation

Taxation provides the needed funding to keep our city operating. It allows us to maintain our roads, clear the snow, provide recreation programming and stage amazing live performances at the Shell Theatre (which we hope is this year!). It is not fun to receive that tax bill every year but without it, we would not have the parks and trails, the recreation facilities, festivals and events – well, you get the idea.

For any inquiries on your assessment, you can talk to an assessor – the City will connect you with someone to answer your questions. If you have questions about your tax notice, or how and where to pay, please call the Taxation department at 780-992-6228.

 


Fortitude – The idea for Fortitude came from wanting to both educate and entertain our readers. This City blog seeks to tell noteworthy stories through a different lens than a typical news story. Expect tales about how City programs and services impact our life here in the Fort. We would love to hear your thoughts and your story ideas.

The City of Fort Saskatchewan is a vibrant economic and cultural hub located just 15 minutes northeast of Edmonton on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Home to nearly 27,000 people, the City proudly manages state of the art recreation, culture and historic amenities including 80 km of outdoor trails, a performing arts theatre and fitness centre within the Dow Centennial Centre and the 1875 – 1885 NWMP Fort Representation in historic downtown. Fort Saskatchewan is the largest urban centre with the Alberta Industrial Heartland region.