Edmonton

Edmonton property taxes set to go up 3.5 per cent in 2018

Homeowners in Edmonton can expect to pay 3.5 per cent more in property taxes this year — up from the 3.2 per cent hike council estimated late last year.

The increase is greater than what council approved in December 2017

The owner of an average home with an assessed value of $397,000 will pay about $2,468 in property tax this year. (CBC)

Homeowners in Edmonton can expect to pay 3.5 per cent more in property taxes this year — higher than the increase council estimated late last year.

In December, council agreed to a 3.2-per-cent hike, which equals about $77 more a year for the owner of an average home assessed at $397,000.

The 3.5-per-cent increase approved by council on Tuesday means people owning homes assessed at the same value will pay about $2,468 in property taxes — $83 more per year.

The increase includes money for neighbourhood renewal projects and the Valley Line LRT.

Council on Tuesday approved an additional five items that hadn't previously been funded, including more than $1.9 million for police patrols when parts of Leduc County are annexed:

EPS annexation $1,929,000
Suicide prevention implementation plan $545,000
Cannabis legalization $4,264,000
Free transit for youth 12 and under $120,000
Labour relations and compensation support  $500,000
Mayor and councillors budget adjustment $456,000

The increase for the mayor's and councillors' budgets goes toward running their offices and paying employees, Mayor Don Iveson said.

"Mainly it's driven by a need to catch up with inflation for the past few years," he said.

Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel and Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack voted against the increase to councillors' office budgets. Nickel said the budget for his ward office is balanced but since council as a whole passed the increase, he said the extra money will go to his staff.

"I have two incredible people who work for me," Nickel said. "I have an executive assistant that answers emails at 1:30 in the morning, that's how hard she works."

Annexation

The Edmonton Police Service said it will need 25 constables to patrol new areas in the annexation agreement between the city and Leduc County.

A city report shows about 730 people live in the annexed area but it covers about 83 square kilometres that need to be patrolled, southwest and southeast of the current Edmonton city boundaries.

The police service estimates it will need $4.3 million a year to patrol the annexed land, beginning next year.

Council still needs to give final approval to the tax bylaw at a meeting scheduled for April 24.

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