Property Taxes

Realty Glimpse LIVE
Thursday, February 28,2019
Rory Tarant, Former City Councillor

Presentation Slides

Former City Councillor Rory Tarant explains the city of GP property taxes and how they compare to the GP County as well as other cities in Alberta.  City Expenses, Linear assessments, machinery & equipment, policing, commercial vs residential, mill rates, ICF- what are these things and how do those things play in to property taxes – this and much more + Q&A at the end.

The Daily Herald Tribune: Property taxes high due to lack of revenue sources: former city councillor

EverythingGP: Former City Councillor talks property taxes at speaking event


3:21       What considerations were there when comparing property taxes with other municipalities?

4:00       Where the data came from – what effort was made to provide “apple to apple” comparisons? (Most data is from 2017)

5:24       Mill Rates – what is a mill rate?  Where does Grande Prairie land as far as the mill rate is concerned?

6:10       Is the reviewing the mill rate alone the best way to determine if property taxes are high?

6:44       How is “Average Property Tax” determined?  How does Grande Prairie compare with other municipalities?

8:00       Quick overview of a Real Estate Magazine article that ranks various cities across Alberta from highest to lowest and places Grande Prairie as the city with the highest property taxes.

8:54       Quick overview of another article by Money Sense that also ranked municipalities for total taxes paid.  Out of 4,000 municipalities, where do you think Grande Prairie ranked?


11:50     How much does Grande Prairie spend per year, as compared with other municipalities?

12:44     How does Grande Prairie’s spending, in relation to the total city assessment, compare to other municipality spending?

How does Grande Prairie compare with other municipalities in respect to:

13:51     spending on general administration?

15:03     spending on recreation?

15:25     spending on transit?

17:20     fire spending?

17:59     spending on policing?  (What difference is there in policing expenses between the county and the city of GP?)

19:30     CITY OF GP CAPITAL SPENDING – (e.g., roads, bridges, rec centres etc)

19:40     How does Grande Prairie’s spend per capita on actual physical infrastructure compare with other municipalities across Alberta?

20:20     How does Grande Prairie’s spend on actual physical infrastructure, when considering total assessment, compare with other municipalities across Alberta?

20:40     Conclusion of spending

21:08     What relationship is there between spending and mill rates for municipalities across Alberta?

21:35     What is the main reason for the difference between property taxes between the City of Grande Prairie, County of Grande Prairie, and the MD of Greenview?

21:47     How does the revenue across the County, City & MD of Greenview differ in respect to Residential Property Taxes, Commercial/Industrial, Machinery & Equipment, Linear Assessment, Oilwell Drilling tax?

22:28     What is Machinery & Equipment (M&E), how is it assess, and who assesses it?

23:03     What is Linear Assessment?

24:07     What is the significance in where the municipality gets its revenue from?

24:52     Would revenue sources would you consider as “bonus” money for the municipality?

26:45     What is an Oilwell Drilling Tax, and which municipality gets that?

27:17     A spread sheet that highlights the difference of moneys received by each revenue source?

29:24     Was the province going to address linear taxes and M&E and how they were shared?

30:38     Is there an example of another way that linear taxes can be distributed?  What is a “fair share deal”?


32:09     How does the [money] reserves compare?

32:47     What percentage of revenue does Grande Prairie get from just residential property taxes – as compared to other municipalities across Alberta?

33:18     When a municipality’s revenue has a higher dependency on residential property tax, are residential property taxes higher?

34:05     WHAT CAN (OR CAN’T) BE DONE ABOUT RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAXES?  (Running different scenarios

34:27     Why doesn’t the city of GP do what is necessary, in order to match the tax rate of the County?

35:59     What if the county had to pay the same as the city for policing, and ½ of the linear assessment and M&E was shared with the city?

36:45     What if 20% of all M&E and Linear in the region was shared with the City?

37:40     As a finale, what does Rory consider to be the crux to the higher property taxes in Grande Prairie?

38:45     What are the final take-aways?

40:31     With spending being comparably similar between the different regions, would it be safe to say that all residences of different municipalities complain about property taxes (like Grande Prairie), is the M&E and Linear revenue make all the difference (to the taxes)?

41:45     What is the county’s argument for keeping the linear rate, and why won’t the provincial government side with the city?

43:33     Do the taxes for the M&E depend on if you are in the county or in the city, or do they change?

44:01     When we annex, would we be better off to do more industrial/commercial than residential neighbourhoods?

45:09     What impact did Aquatera have on attracting industrial/commercial to the county?

47:30     Although spending seems in line with other municipalities, has there been irresponsible spending by council?

48:44     The county has an “open for business” mindset, with the costs of taxes being higher in the city, has the city done anything to deal with that discrepancy?

51:58     As a former city councillor, what do you think the cities prime opportunities are in the ICF (Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework) negotiations?  What is ICF?