Lethbridge City Council receiving a report this week on property taxes and assessments.
The amount of taxes home and business owners pay in the city is one of the hottest topics new City Manager Bramwell Strain has heard since he took the job one year ago.
He says it certainly is something that needs to be looked at. “According to various sources, we are (Lethbridge) the second-highest taxed municipality in the province. That’s not sustainable. So obviously for resident comfort for what they pay for taxes it’s important they get value for the money they’re paying. Clearly the first thing we have to do when we are looking at increasing services or tax rates, is look at ourselves (the City).”
Council was shown a slide Monday which indicated that 64% of the property taxes collected at City Hall come from residential taxpayers.
Strain says with 35,000 plus actual homes in the city, that does make some sense. “But certainly at the same time businesses are saying how come we’re at 2.35 times the rate of residential? Clearly we want to continue to attract and grow business so we have to be competitive.”
The City Manager notes he hears about the property tax concerns very regularly.
An city-wide operational review is underway to try and find efficiencies from within and Strain says we should see that come out this fall.