More property tax relief for homeowners hit by Fort McMurray wildfire

More property tax relief for homeowners hit by Fort McMurray wildfire

Fort McMurray residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by last May's wildfire won't have to pay the provincial portion of their 2017 property taxes.

The province announced Monday it has kicked in $2 million to cover the provincial portion of those taxes, money that helps fund schools.

The Wood Buffalo municipality has already forgiven the municipal portion of property taxes for 2016 and 2017.

Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson said the tax relief will help residents "pay the bills" as the city enters its second year of recovery after the wildfire.

The Fort McMurray wildfire destroyed about 2,400 apartments, condos, trailers, homes and buildings.

The municipality had asked the province to reimburse Wood Buffalo, under the province's disaster relief program, for the municipal portion of taxes it did not charge residents in 2016. But that request was denied, even though the province covered both the municipal and provincial portion of taxes for homes affected by the Slave Lake wildfire.

In March, the province also forgave $5.1 million in 2016 education property taxes for affected homes in the Fort McMurray region.

Anderson said Monday his government has so far provided a total of $743 million in disaster assistance funding to the Wood Buffalo municipality.

Follow David Thurton, CBC's Fort McMurray correspondent, on Facebook, Twitter or contact him via email.