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Property tax increase disturbing

Received our annual nightmare tax bill from the city recently, although the increase was not surprising, it was none the less very disturbing. We have once again been hit with a 9.4% property assessment increase and a overall 10.07% property tax increase.

Other than the possibility of Vancouver, I do not believe property values have increased by 9.4% anywhere in Canada, so why does the Edmonton assessment company our City uses, value our properties so outside the National norms? Especially, considering other than getting older, our property has not changed.

When we chose to live in Chestermere 15 years ago, it was, in large part, due to the low tax rate. When compared to Calgary and all the other outlying communities surrounding Calgary, Chestermere offered the best value. Since purchasing our home, we have experienced a 200% increase in our property tax bill. That is, if you include the now separate garbage removal fees ($300.00) and the new LIFECYCLE infrastructure cost ($50.00). Mmmm, seems to me most Cities budget for infrastructure within their annual capital budgets.

And then there are the costs for water! Since the inception of the CUI, our water bill has increased from approximately $95.00 bi-monthly to $218.00. Our actual water usage is less than $15.00 bi-monthly, however, the various associated fees charged come in at $150.00.

Yes, the City has grown and new amenities are necessary, however, do we really need to spend, spend, spend on all these Capital projects not related to infrastructure? I think we can live without a few of the niceties and spread capital expenditures over a 10 year period. Does it all have to be done now? Every year another multi-million dollar project is approved and started. Now the City is considering a huge new recreational project, I am very concerned about the costs associated with not only building the project but with the costs associated with operating it. Especially, considering the recent issues surrounding the current Chestermere Recreational facility and the City’s financial commitments already provided with no legal ownership.

If the old, build now while it’s less expensive were true, why hasn’t the City employed the same thinking when it comes to our roadways? They build it when they come, not when they start a new road, only to decide a year or so later the rest of it needs to be completed.

In any case, as far as I can see, the money spent to enhance Chestermere’s residents lifestyles, seems to be doing more for those from Calgary.

This current economic downturn (which many are comparing to the mid 80’s) has put a huge burden on our family and if Chestermere continues to increase taxes and associated fees at the drop of their hat, I hate to say it, but we will have no choice but to move.

T. Walker

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