The projected assessment growth for Cochrane properties was missed and exactly what impact it will have, if any, on the town's 2023 budget will be provided to town council soon.
During the Jan. 16 committee-of-the-whole meeting, town council received the final report on property assessments that updates the shifts and changes in property values for the 2023 assessment year.
Cochrane property owners can anticipate receiving their 2023 property assessment notice in their mailbox within the next week.
The 2023 budget was based on an assessment growth of 3.25 per cent and came in at 3.16 per cent. During the presentation on the 2023 property assessment, Mayor Jeff Genung requested information to understand its impact.
Based upon market conditions and property improvements, single-family residential properties rose by an average of 13.21 per cent, duplexes and townhouses rose an average of 14.8 per cent, and condominiums rose 11 per cent.
The average assessment of a single-family dwelling is now $561,200, townhouses/duplexes average $410,300, and condominiums, $289,700.
The rise in assessment fluctuate from as high as 18.81 per cent in Headlands to as low as 8.89 per cent in Crawford Ranch for single-family dwellings.
Duplexes/townhouses assessment increases in Glenbow were the highest at 17.57 per cent and were lowest in Crawford Ranch at 8.87 per cent.
Condominium assessments increased the highest in Bow Ridge at 13.18 per cent and just 1.43 per cent in Sunterra.
A complete list compiled by town assessors is located at the end of this article.
Commercial property assessments increased by 5 per cent and industrial, six per cent.
Council was concerned people will see this as a double-hit in the tax increase they'll see in their May notice. Councillors say they regularly see a rise in the volume of emails on the topic of taxes and assessments at this time of the year.
Deputy mayor Morgan Nagel stressed the need for clearer communications on assessments.
"I don't know if members of administration fully understand how much we hear about it, but there's a perception in a portion of the population that feels this entire assessment process is a tax gain, some sort of gain that allows us to double-dip on taxes," said Nagel. "There are people who feel like it's not a fair process, and the whole thing is done simply to extract more taxes from them, and it's a source of deep mistrust. So it's something I'd really want to tackle."
He wants the town to address the issue directly in future literature to explain it's not about double-dipping on taxes.
"With the change in assessment value, that doesn't mean you're going to have a 13 per cent tax increase, it's all relative," explained Gail Butz, assessment and taxation manager. "So if you're at the typical increase, you're going to see the budgetary change the council has set, plus when the province's number comes in, that will make a difference to what they've requisitioned on what the tax rates will be determined."
Town council approved the 2023 budget on Dec. 14 which calls for a 3.7 per cent increase in property taxes. It includes an operating budget of $74.3 million for 2023 and a $86 million capital budget for 2023-2025.
For most residents, though, the acid test is when they compare how much money they paid in taxes last year to this year's bill.
Of the taxes collected 65 per cent are for the municipality, 34 per cent is for the provincial education requisition and one per cent is for the Rocky View Foundation requisition that supports seniors' housing.
Residential property assessments continue to outpace non-residential properties. Residential properties account for 88.65 per cent of property assessments, compared to 11.34 per cent in non-residential assessments, including those within the Community Revitalization Levy zone, primarily the Quarry commercial area. Last year the split was 87.69-12.31.