Edmontonians get break on property taxes

A change in provincial tax legislation is a modest windfall for home owners in Edmonton. nearly cutting this year’s property tax hike in half.

City council passes province's education tax break onto taxpayers

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said city council made a prudent decision in passing on a provincial tax break to home owners. (CBC)

A change in provincial tax regulations is a modest windfall for property owners in Edmonton, nearly cutting this year's tax hike in half.

The city intended to raise property taxes by 5.7 per cent this year. However, in last month's budget, the province lowered what homeowners will pay in education tax while raising it for businesses.

"They're dramatically raising them for businesses, almost 16 per cent, which is going to be a tough nut to swallow for businesses," said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson Tuesday.

That effectively lowered residential property taxes across Alberta allowing city council to cut the average residential property tax increase for 2015 from 5.7 per cent, set in December, to 2.4 per cent.

Iveson said in the past the city would simply keep the difference, to help pay for needed infrastructure projects.

"The option is always there for council to take the difference," Iveson said. "We've done that in the past where we had a need for something like paving arterial roads that we thought citizens would support."

Instead council made the "prudent decision, a fair decision," to leave the money on the table for ratepayers, he said.

"We didn't want to take a dime more than we needed in a year like this," Iveson said.

"We understand with other orders of government raising taxes on citizens and with some disruptions in the economy … for some families and some businesses times are tough."