City Council fulfilled its promise of reducing taxes by two per cent, after finalizing the tax rate bylaw, on May 21.
“We heard you Chestermere. You wanted lower taxes, and you wanted us to find more efficiencies. We have done exactly that,” said Chestermere Mayor, Marshall Chalmers.
“The reduction was achieved primarily through improved efficiencies, personnel adjustments, and realigned projects,” Chalmers said.
He added, Chestermere City Council is extremely proud of the work administration has taken on to find efficiencies and are working on finding more.
In addition to reducing taxes, the council now has a new strategic plan in place, along with taking control of Chestermere Utilities Incorporated (CUI), by conducting internal service level reviews to find the best way to provide municipal services to the community.
However, the Chestermere property taxes are based on the tax rate and assessed value of a property.
“If a homeowner’s property value remains the same as last year, residents can expect to pay two per cent less in municipal taxes this year,” a City of Chestermere Press Release said.
Property owners including George Hearn who has lived on the lakefront for 31 years and Shaun Buckwold who has lived on the lakefront for 25 years said they have seen a tax increase this year.
“Lakefront owners are paying a second mortgage,” Hearn said.
It’s depressing that lakefront property owners are paying a mortgage on a house that has already been paid for, Hearn added. He wasn’t upgraded his home since it was built in the late 1980’s but now has higher taxes than homes that were recently built.
The province is in the wrong type of economy for municipalities to increase residents’ taxes significantly, Buckwold said.
“Everyone is struggling in this economy. It’s not fair to punish the people living on the lake,” Buckwold said.
“I love it here, but it’s really hard to live here. I’m trying to hang onto my house,” she added.
The amount of tax residents will pay is based on the assessed value of their property and ensures that every homeowner will contribute an appropriate amount to municipal services, said Chief Financial Officer, Brenda Hewko.
Chestermere’s assessment is completed by a third party and has indicated that areas around the community, including lakefront homes, have experienced a higher than average increase in property value, Hewko said.
The assessments are based on many factors such as on-site visits, real estate Multiple Listing Services (MLS), Alberta Land Titles, and financial institution information.
“If a property experienced a significant increase in assessment, the change in the assessed value of their home might outweigh the tax decrease, and this would end up causing them to pay more tax than last year,” Hewko said.
She added that all homeowners were sent a property assessment a few months ago and were given 60 days to appeal the assessment given.
All tax notices will be sent out in June, and any residents who pay in a lump sum must submit the full amount by July 31.
For additional information, please contact the City of Chestermere at www.chestermere.ca/assessment, or 403-207-7050.