Calgary city council voted Wednesday to approve a 3.61 per cent increase to property tax rates for 2022.
Residential tax changes mean a $172 increase — or about $14 per month — for a median-priced single-detached home valued at $485,000.
Calgarians whose property value increased by more than six per cent this year can expect to see their property taxes rise, while those whose property value increased by less than that amount can expect to pay less.
Coun. Sonya Sharp said she doesn’t expect the tax hike to go over well with Calgarians. She voted against the increase, alongside council colleagues Sean Chu and Dan McLean.
“City of Calgary citizens expected a zero per cent increase. We increased it nearly four per cent in November in our budget through add-ons from council, so it had nothing to do with inflation,” Sharp said. The Ward 1 councillor served as deputy mayor Wednesday with Mayor Jyoti Gondek in Vancouver attending a climate conference.
“(Then) fast-forward to what’s happening today, with what the province added on . . . which is outside of our control. I don’t feel that citizens are going to be happy with this at all.
“They couldn’t afford it, I would say, a year ago. They definitely can’t afford it right now.”
The finalized numbers come after council approved a 3.87 per cent tax increase in November. That number was adjusted after factoring in the provincial government’s education property tax requisition, which rose by 1.7 per cent for Calgary in Alberta’s Budget 2022.
The fall decision to increase property taxes was done to boost spending in several areas, including downtown revitalization, climate action and the fire department.
The average condo and highrise owner will see property taxes decrease by 3.37 per cent and 4.23 per cent, respectively.
On the non-residential side, retail businesses in neighbourhood shopping centres will pay 6.04 per cent more in taxes, and a typical industrial warehouse will pay 4.18 per cent more.
Hotels will save with a nearly 13 per cent tax decrease across the sector; the industry has sought tax relief while recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elsewhere Wednesday, council unanimously approved a motion to bring back a tax deferral program to give further relief to city hotel and motel owners, allowing those who have not paid their 2022 property taxes to defer some payments until the end of 2023 without penalty. It’s similar to a program approved by council the previous year.
The motion also includes a $300,000 grant to Tourism Calgary to support a tourism campaign for the city’s hospitality industry, and directs Gondek to write a letter to the province requesting additional financial support for the sector.
Calgary residents will receive their property tax bills in the mail later this spring. Taxes are due by the end of June for all landowners who aren’t on a monthly payment plan.
Coun. Peter Demong called on the city to adjust its messaging to residents on property taxes. The 12-year council veteran said he receives calls every year from constituents confused and upset about how their taxes break down.
“This is kind of complicated because people will start getting confused with the assessment value increase versus the property tax increase, which is why they’ve always done it separately before,” Demong said.
“I believe we could put it on the same notice, separate it completely and let people know, ‘your property tax is going up this much because of what city council has done, and it’s going up or it’s going down this much because of what happened in your assessment value.”
The volatility of Calgary’s housing market in recent years and large swings in property assessments contribute to the confusion, Demong said.
“It does get very complicated very quickly.”