As a last reminder property taxes are due June 30.
While more than 50% of Cocharanites pay their taxes through the monthly TIP program, Paige Milner, Town of Cochrane, Senior Manager, Corporate Services, shares the town sees a number of annual property taxes paid throughout the month of June.
Friday, June 30 is the cut-off day for those paying their annual bill and if late you will see a 7% penalty charge. “There is a penalty that is on July 1 if payment has not been received by June 30 so people are encouraged to get their payments in by Friday.”
Milner says they did take a number of phone calls this year with inquires about residential tax bills. While council approved a less than 1% tax hike, many residents have seen taxes go up despite a lower assessment. “The average residential assessment is about $481,000 which is down 3.6% from last year so what the tax rates have done is to ensure that the average increase was only 0.83% (less than a 1%) for municipal property taxes but the education requisition which comes from the province, which is not controlled by council at all , was 15%. That translated to the average tax bill just under 13% increase in the education part of the bill, so when you add in the municipal with the education part it actually worked out to an average increase of 4.9% on the total property tax bill.”
Once Milner, explained to residents the reason behind the increase most people came to terms. There is no way to opt out not paying education taxes and Milner predicts while we may not be dinged 15% next year it may still remain relatively high. “They are basing the calculations on growth a couple years ago, so next year we still had stronger growth. It slowed a bit now and therefore there should be gain/increase in education next year that won’t be offset by the current growth in the community, not sure what those numbers are yet but hopefully it is not going to be as bad as this year."
Not all Cochranite’s experienced a lower assessment, Milner, states there are many reasons why your assessment may have gone up. "If they did a basement development or they did things to increase the assessed value of their home they are going to have an increase and then there's people because of a neighbourhood they are in or some factors where others may have had a bigger decrease than 3.6%. If you had a decrease more than 3.6% than you would actually have a reduction in your municipal tax bill."
Milner shares while there was a lot of questions this year but only three appeals have been actually been made to the town.
In the past four year term for council taxes have only increased by 1.23% throughout the entirety of the term; begging the question would residents be willing to pay more taxes to see more projects, services, amenities come to town?
"Council was very focused on keeping those tax increases low because there is economic challenges for a number of families. Generally residents here want increased services and quite a high level of service but at least maintaining what we currently do, so ever year we do our best to try to bring in a budget that doesn't have a big increase but it is challenging to keep the same level of service with no tax increase at all, so I believe residents can expect some type of increase but I believe they also expect that amount to be somewhat affordable."