Hold the line on taxes, 4 in 10 Edmonton residents tell city in online survey

·3 min read
The City of Edmonton received 8,644 responses to a tax levy survey posted online from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24. (Jane Roberston/CBC - image credit)
The City of Edmonton received 8,644 responses to a tax levy survey posted online from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24. (Jane Roberston/CBC - image credit)

A City of Edmonton survey suggests 42 per cent of respondents don't want the city to raise property taxes in 2022.

The city received 8,644 responses to a tax levy survey posted online from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24.

The results also suggest 34 per cent of respondents favour a tax increase while 18 per cent want their city taxes cut.

The city is proposing a 1.8 per cent increase on residential property taxes next year.

If the increase is approved, the average household would pay about $714 in property taxes in 2022 on each $100,000 of the assessed value of their home — $14 more on every $100,000 of assessed value compared to 2021.

The suggested increase comes after the previous council agreed not to raise taxes this year, amid financial uncertainty for residents and business owners in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Three-quarters of survey respondents who said they would support a tax increase said they want the city to use the money to cover the increased cost of existing programs and to maintain infrastructure.

Another 44 per cent of those favouring a tax increase said they would like services and programs to improve. The top three areas were transit, roads and parks.

Respondents were able to select more than one area where they think the tax increase should be focused.

City of Edmonton
City of Edmonton

Those who would like taxes to stay the same or go down would like the city to cut service levels in recreation centres, parks, and transit.

"Of those who would like to see a tax levy decrease, 31 per cent indicate a three per cent or more decrease in tax levy is acceptable," the report says.

The perspectives on taxation are similar to findings in 2020, the survey indicates. That year, council agreed to a budget with no tax increase.

Of the proposed 1.8 tax increase now under deliberation, 0.7 per cent would be dedicated to municipal services like transit, maintaining street lights, snow clearing, and parks.

Another 0.7 per cent would go to city police, 0.3 per cent to alley renewal and 0.1 per cent to the Valley Line LRT.

In the online survey, 90 per cent of the 8,644 respondents identified as residential property owners. Ten per cent said they were renters and nine per cent identified as owners of commercial properties or businesses.

Just over half said they were employed full-time, and 22 per cent said they were retired.

COVID-19 impacts

The survey asked people to rate their financial situation over the past year: 45 per cent said their situation has worsened in the past 12 months while 44 per cent said it stayed the same.

"Those who have seen their financial situation become worse would like to see a tax levy decrease," the report says.

Among those who said their financial situation has become worse, 83 per cent said their finances have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight per cent of survey respondents said their financial situation had improved.

Earlier this week, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce president Jeffrey Sundquist said he thought the proposed tax increase was reasonable after council agreed to a zero per cent increase for 2021.

@natashariebe

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting