RMWB Reducing Property Taxes For Households and Businesses

The RMWB is lowering propery taxes for the average household and business across the RMWB.

Wood Buffalo council approved the decrease on Tuesday.

Those living in Fort McMurray will pay, on average, 13 per cent less in property and education taxes. People living in the rural areas are set to pay, on average, 23 per cent than last year.

“Our residents are getting a good deal with the taxes we already pay and to have a further reduction is nothing but good help during this economic time,” said Councillor Mike Allen.

The biggest drop is for oil companies who are paying, on average, around $1.7 million less in taxes than last year.

This is mainly due to the requirement of having the rural to urban tax ratio be set at 5:1. Back in 2017, it was around 18.3:1 and is set to shrink to 7.78:1.

Karim Zariffa, Executive Director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance, says this drop in taxes is needed right now for these companies. He notes demand and prices for oil are down and projects across the region are being deferred.

Mayor Don Scott also believes this will benefit the community.

“I believe it’s going to lead to more people staying in this community, more people getting jobs in this community because this community is essentially making a huge move, probably the biggest move that’s ever been made as far as supporting industry from a tax perspective.”

When the budget was approved in late 2019, the RMWB was expecting around $718 million in tax revenue, however, the latest projection is now at $581 million.

Despite the decrease, budgeted capital projects will continue to move forward, using reserve funds to account for the loss in revenue.

-An earlier version stated the RMWB was reducing its budget by 20 per cent. They are instead covering the loss in revenue with funds from reserve, keeping the budget the same.

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