City council has decided to rebate the $23.7-million left over as a result of the province’s tax requisition coming in lower than expected.
The decision came as councillors finalized the 2017 property tax rates, including a zero per cent increase.
It means residential property owners who own a median home valued at $460,000 can expect an annual reduction of $7, or about sixty cents a month, on their 2017 tax bill.
It was Councillor Sean Chu who put forward the motion.
“As you know, elections are coming October 16, and a brand new council, and I think the council at that time should be the one making the decision for the future not us, so, I encourage my council members to vote with me on this one,” Chu said.
Councillor Andre Chabot was concerned the almost $24-million is now built into the base budget for next year too, but Mayor Naheed Nenshi stressed this is only a one year decision and the new council won’t be locked into anything.
“Council in the future could easily choose to give it all back, and further – it says 2018 and further – so, council could easily choose to take it out of the base as part of the 2018 budget discussions if they wanted to,” Nenshi explained.
It means the new council will have to determine what to do with the money next year.
Councillor Shane Keating said there is almost no question in his mind it will end up going towards funding the Green Line.
“We need some time to see whether or not the Green Line goes ahead, we need some time to see whether or not this would – in my view and my view only – whether this is required for financing for the Green Line,” he said.
The decision passed 11-2.
Property taxes will be mailed May 26 and are due June 30.