Eckville tax bylaw delayed by education tax requisition

Eckville Town Council is expected to approve the tax bylaw by the end of June

The Town of Eckville is waiting another month before bringing the 2019 tax rates before council.

Town administration is unsure of how to proceed without knowing the education requisition of 2019.

“It has really put the whole province in a bit of a pickle,” said Eckville’s CAO Jack Ramsden.

A provincial budget was not passes before the election in April, and the current government says they won’t bring forward a budget until the fall sitting of Legislature.

This means each municipality in Alberta has two options, estimate this year’s education tax or base it off of last year’s.

Ramsden said administration is weighing each option before bringing the 2019 Tax Rate Bylaw to council.

“It’s hard to know which way you go, but I think either way it will affect next year’s taxes,” he said.

Municipal Affairs says Alberta municipalities may estimate the education tax by using the 2019 equalization assessment data or by using the 2018 Education Property Tax requisition.

However, if the 2019 education tax is different in the provincial budget from the one used by the municipality, Municipal Affairs says the town will have to resolve the issue of too much or too little revenue collected.

“If there is an increase in the requisition, municipalities will need to use municipal funds or reserves to cover the difference and can recoup the difference in their 2020 local education property tax calculation,” a report to council states.

Ramsden says the Tax Bylaw will come to council before the end of June.

“We normally collect taxes at the end of August, and we have to have notices out at least 30 days in advance, so we aren’t worried right now,” Ramsden said, adding the Town normally sends out its notices 90 days before taxes are due.

Council also carried the first two reading of a bylaw which allows the CAO to consolidate existing bylaws into one.

Ramsden says one main bylaw this will affect is the Land Use Bylaw.

The final reading for the consolidation bylaw is expected to pass at council’s next meeting on May 27.

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