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Report: Province has greater influence on tax gap than Moose Jaw Council

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Councillor Kim Robinson recently asked the council what percentage of the tax gap reduction was due to the council's tax rate factors and what percentage was due to the provincially mandated change in assessed property values.

MOOSE JAW – City council has been working to narrow the tax gap between residential and commercial property classes since 2017, but it appears changes made by the province have had a greater effect.

During the April 22 regular meeting, Councillor Kim Robinson submitted a request to the council regarding what percentage of the tax gap reduction was due to council's tax rate factors and what percentage was due to the provincially mandated change in assessed value of properties.

The administration's response came during its most recent regular meeting in May: data showing that the tax gap has narrowed from 2.43 times in 2017 to 1.80 times this year.

Council efforts to reduce the gap resulted in a 0.29 percentage point decrease during that period, while changes made by the province in 2021 resulted in a 0.34 percentage point decrease. Therefore, city efforts accounted for 46 percent of the changes and provincial efforts accounted for 54 percent.

The report added that changes to infrastructure levies and the commercial appeals allowance may also affect the tax gap, although the administration did not exclude those two factors in the analysis.

During the May meeting, Robinson said he appreciated the administration's “very precise response.” He pointed out that while the tax gap changes were split nearly 50 percent, the administration did not rule out the two factors mentioned above, according to the report.

Robinson therefore submitted another request, asking City Hall officials to re-analyze the tax gap, excluding levies for the cast iron water main replacement program, the parks and recreation capital improvement program, and commercial donation grants.

In addition, the City Council asked the City Council to determine the average annual revenue from street parking meters and, if possible, to report the revenue for parking meters located within one block of Main Street between First Avenue Northwest and First Avenue Northeast.

Robinson also wanted answers from city hall officials regarding payments made to the City of Moose Jaw's Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) between 2018 and 2023, the number of incidents, lost time, no-loss time, and rates and bonuses for that year.

The next regular council meeting will be on Monday, May 27.