Prince Albert City Council approves one-time refund for property owners to correct oversight (Herald File Photo)Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 14:05 Apr 27, 2022

By Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Prince Albert City Council approved a one-time property tax abatement during Monday’s meeting for property owners impacted by an increase to their taxes greater than $700 last year.

The abatement is a one-time reduction to address the sudden increases in property taxes following the 2021 revaluation. Some properties in the city experienced as much as 30% increases to their tax, ranging from $780 to $5,999 between homes. 

The one-time tax relief will have a total cost of $111,775.94 to the City. Administration recommended that the abatement be funded from the Fiscal Stabilization Reserve since it was not included in the 2022 budget.

Municipalities in Saskatchewan must revalue properties every four years and update the assessed values. Due to the unique housing market in Prince Albert, the 2021 revaluation led to middle value homes decreasing in value and caused fewer higher valued properties to carry a larger portion of the tax burden.

“This abatement corrects an oversight at the time of implementation,” Mayor Greg Dionne said. “It was not clear at the time that these homes would see such a dramatic increase and this offers some measure of relief to those impacted.”

The abatement will provide 173 properties owners that experienced the most dramatic increases with a one-time tax relief. 29 properties out of the total 202 homes that saw an increase in property taxes of over $700 were removed from the list. Properties with substantial renovations in 2021 or those that saw an increase in tax due to a change in property classification were excluded.

“Last year, this Council as a whole approved a 0% tax increase, so you could imagine the surprise on our faces when months later people’s taxes increased by $1,000, by $2,000,” Coun. Ted Zurakowski said during the meeting. “I can tell you this was not our intent. I think it’s only right that we make our residents whole.”

The one-time tax relief will be delivered to impacted property owners in one of two ways. Residents currently enrolled in the Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPPS) will receive a cheque mailed for the amount they are entitled to. The abatement will be credited to the property tax account of those not currently enrolled in TIPPS.

Letters to impacted property owners are expected to arrive by May 13th, preceding the delivery of Property Tax Notices by a week.

This item reprinted with permission from Daily Herald, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan