Calgary councillors call on province for property tax assessment reform
CALGARY -- A group of Calgary city councillors are calling on the provincial government to launch a task force on property tax assessment reform.
Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Davison will present a notice of motion to be debated by city council on Feb. 3.
His motion has already received the support of Councillors Ward Sutherland, Joe Magliocca, Sean Chu, Jyoti Gondek, Shane Keating, Diane Colley-Urquhart and Peter Demong.
Davison says they are all calling on Mayor Nenshi to write to Premier Kenney on the issue as Calgary continues to struggle with the collapse of downtown property values and debate the extension of the phased tax-program for another year.
"We’ve heard it loud and clear from the Calgary business community that the current tax regime is severely detrimental," said Davison in a statement.
"The City of Calgary cannot continue to provide band-aid solutions to a systemic problem. I hope that our partners in the province hear our call for reform to the system."
Davison added that decline in property office buildings has resulted in the redistribution of property taxes among small businesses that occupy outside the downtown core to an unsustainable point.
In 2019, Council shifted the non-residential to residential tax ratio to 48:52 in an attempt to lower the burden on no -residential ratepayers.
It’s an issue that the City of Calgary has been dealing with through a series of operating budget cuts and capital spending on deferrals. Since 2017, the city has approved $216 million in "one time" phased tax programs, of which $174 million in credits has been issued to date.
Councillor Ward Sutherland agrees the problem is "systemic" in nature.
"Provincial law, specifically the Municipal Government Act and other regulations establish the tax system," said Sutherland.
"We need help from our partners in the Province to make meaningful change to the system."
Both Davison and Sutherland are of the opinion that a tax assessment reform would help reduce red-tape and costs associated with appeals.