Chestermere cuts taxes by 2 per cent as part of new budget

Citing cost-savings found as the result of implementing various efficiencies, the City of Chestermere announced Tuesday it would cut taxes for residents by a rate of two per cent in 2020.

It's the second year in a row taxes have been slashed by two per cent in the community, which is located east of Calgary.

"We are awful pleased to be able to bring that to our constituents," said Mayor Marshall Chalmers. "We have to remember that this was a long process for our administration to get to this point.

"They've been doing the best they can from the direction of council to find all the efficiencies that would allow for this two per cent tax cut again."

An example of those efficiencies could be found in how funds are managed in the city's various departments, according to Chalmers.

"Instead of your individual departments handling their own purchasing power, we amalgamated that," he said. "That's an example of where you can find efficiencies."

According to Megan Matthies, spokesperson with the City of Chestermere, the tax cut should save a resident with a home assessed around $500,000 approximately $50 per year, depending on assessment values.

The City of Calgary passed its own budget last week, approving a 1.5 per cent tax hike. Calgary residents living in a median-priced home ($456,000) will pay approximately $150 extra in property taxes in 2020.

No jobs or services will be cut under Chestermere's new budget, according to Chalmers. 

"Every community has their own challenges and ours are absolutely different than [Calgary's]," he said. "They'll get their challenges figured out. Everything we're doing is made to address our challenges here in Chestermere."

Chestermere's tax burden is heavily carried by residential accounts. Under Calgary's new budget, the tax ratio now sits at 52 per cent residential and 48 per cent non-residential.

In 2018, residents in Calgary paid approximately $3,179 in property tax on a home assessed at $500,000, compared to $4,156 paid on a similar property in Chestermere, according to figures compiled from municipality data.