Councillor Survey Question 4

Do you think property taxes are too high, too low, or just about right?

Janise Somer:

About right.


Brenda Campbell:

I would love to say too high but i'm a realist about costs/expenses. That being said, I think we could utilize taxes/monies better and get more bang for our buck(s), starting with reducing Councillors salaries. Other cost saving measures would include seeking out information and assistance without paying high consultation fees. We can be efficient and effective.


Bruce Buruma:

In the eyes of our citizens they are too high--I have heard this many times. Our taxes need to be competitive--this has been a key issue for businesses leaving Red Deer. The downturn in our economy is shrinking assessment values, particularly in industrial and commercial properties. A tough economy has made it difficult for families to make ends meet. As a Council, we need to find the right balance between revenue and expenses. The assessment I mention in question 3 is an important step for a new Council to take a fresh look at achieving the right balance.


Kraymer Barnstable:

I believe our property taxes are too high. That is evident in the amount of people leaving Red Deer to live in surrounding areas with much lower property taxes.


Victor Doerksen:

From the prospective of a taxpayer, taxes are always too high. As a councillor, I will take the time to analyze the budgets in detail to gain better objectivity. My bent is always to find ways, if possible, to lower taxes.


Dianne Wyntjes:

Council members, when reviewing and debating the City’s Operating and Capital budgets must be cognizant of the state of the local economy and specifically the challenges for individuals, families, seniors and businesses over the past 20 months. This past term, the City of Red Deer Council has now moved to a two year budget process. Council passed a 0% tax increase for 2021 and 2022 with a mid year budget review for the next Council. That was a just about right decision for the times. And the next Council will debate the two year budget process in 2022 for 2023-2024 and then again in 2024 for 2024–2025. Council must also be cognizant of the effects of increasing any fees and charges such as transit fees, recreation fees, facility rentals and development fees. Having lived in Red Deer for over 40 years, I recall when one Council had 0% tax increases during the term. The next Council following that Council was faced with difficult decisions and citizens of Red Deer faced double digit tax increases. Good municipal operations means regular review of services, looking to innovation, change and cost savings where possible and when appropriate and if it makes sense/cents for Red Deer. Compared to other Alberta municipalities, Red Deer is often in the middle of the pack for property taxes. In my campaign leaflet, I say “Respect for our tax dollars is always a priority when making Council decisions.” I will continue to live with that value and guiding principle in my decisions, if re-elected.


Chad Krahn:

Property taxes could always be lowered, but best place to focus political will in the next term will be to find ways to make the city easier to deal with for business, to make sure that the bylaws do not have unintended consequences that drive away businesses, and to not let the status quo continue at city hall while we watch the county grow.


Ryan Laloge:

The City Taxes are not the issue, the effectiveness of their use is the issue.


Vesna Higham:

For the current two year budget cycle (2021 & 2022) adopted by Council in the fall of 2020, our property tax rate was wholly appropriate and defensible at 0% for both years on the operating side and 0.5% per year on the capital side. Given the extraordinary impacts of Covid, a global recession, and low global oil prices, it was the right, responsible thing to do. Having said that, over the past 27 years that I’ve lived in Red Deer, I’ve seen years where Council’s approved 11% and 13% tax increases respectively over two consecutive years! That is absolutely unacceptable and I vowed that I would do all I can to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. So have our property taxes increased disproportionate to our economic realities? Yes, for sure they have and it’s critical that we not allow those kinds of shocking double-digit increases ever again. There’s simply no defensible rationale for it.


Cindy Jefferies:

In comparing our taxes to other municipalities, I believe Red Deer's are just about right.

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