Edmonton homeowners now face proposed 8.7 per cent property tax hike for 2024

The City of Edmonton is now proposing an 8.7 per cent increase in property taxes for 2024. (Natasha Riebe/CBC - image credit)
The City of Edmonton is now proposing an 8.7 per cent increase in property taxes for 2024. (Natasha Riebe/CBC - image credit)

Edmonton homeowners are facing a property tax rate hike of 8.7 per cent, up from the 6.6 per cent increase city council initially approved in November.

In a spring operating budget adjustment report released Thursday, the city details the proposed hike ahead of council's final sign-off on the 2024 tax levy.

The latest numbers aren't set in stone — council will debate the proposed changes April 23 and 24.

In a news release, the city said an 8.7 per cent tax increase would mean that Edmonton households would pay about $65 more for every $100,000 of their assessed home value in 2024.

That would see the average household in Edmonton paying about $8.96 per day in property taxes.

Projected property tax increases in subsequent years are also now higher. During November budget talks, council approved increases of 5.3 per cent for 2025 and 4.7 per cent for 2026.

Now, the city is calling for a seven per cent increase in 2025 and a 6.4 per cent hike in 2026.

At a news conference Thursday, Stacey Padbury, the city's chief financial officer, said costs are escalating much faster than city officials anticipated.

"There are two things that are true at the same time. The city's financial position is stable and we face growing financial pressures," she said.

"We now have a much better sense of how much higher some of our costs will be moving forward. We can't continue to absorb the financial impacts we're facing this year and beyond without adjusting taxes or service levels. And it may take both strategies to ensure our long-term financial sustainability."

Along with inflationary costs, the new labour agreement with nearly 6,000 City of Edmonton and Edmonton Public Library staff in Civic Service Union Local 52 is adding 1.4 per cent to the tax levy.

The budget increased with the city adding more bus service hours and opening the new NAIT station on the Metro Line LRT.

There's also a rise in premiums to the Workers' Compensation Board, accounting for about 0.3 per cent of the tax increase.

Padbury said the main theme of the budget adjustments is maintaining existing services in Edmonton, from snow removal to waste pick up.

"Either there are tax increases to pay for the services that continue to get provided, or there needs to be a discussion about which services do Edmontonians no longer wish to pay for," Padbury said.

The spring operating budget review is a final chance for council to adjust the financial plan, taking things like new economic forecasts and budget decisions from other levels of government into account, before property tax bills go in the mail.

"The experience of 2023 and the reality of 2024 have shown the City of Edmonton, like most municipalities, faces two distinct paths for making financial choices," city documents say, pointing to inflation and price volatility as two factors straining municipal finances.

After council has debated the proposed increases, the city plans to bring forward bylaws on April 30 to set the tax rates based on the approved increase.

Jo-Anne Wright, councillor for Ward Sspomitapi, said 8.7 per cent is a realistic number to be debated when considering funding cuts from the province.

"A lot of our our concerns are with the reduced funding from the province, so not just the $60 million in back property taxes," Wright said in an interview with CBC Thursday.

"Infrastructure grants have been cut by about 25 per cent. And so that all plays into how we have to fund our our deficits."

Tax notices are to be mailed to all property owners on May 24, with property taxes due June 30.