May 22, 2017

Linear Assessments Enhancing Alberta Counties

As you can see the average amount a resident pays in the various municipal statuses for residential tax is somewhat similar.  The cities tend to have the higher residential tax rate as there are typically less people per dwelling and they spend more. (2)

As you can see in the second chart below, across the province residential tax is typically the greatest source of tax revenue.  The MD’s and the Villages within them have almost an identical residential tax per capita.  The services provided by MD’s and Villages have about the same residential tax stream to finance them.

The landscape changes dramatically when you added in the linear taxes that counties receive that is on average about 2.5 times per capita what they receive in residential tax. 

The response might be that the MD’s need this money for services or infrastructure unique to them.  The below chart though shows that in fact the Counties have amassed very large amounts of financial assets equal to about 2.5 times the village’s per capita and 5 times that of towns and villages.  This is an indication that they have more money coming in than they need for expenses.

From this I would propose that counties have an unfair revenue advantage that I would say from personal experience typically does not get shared to the extent it could with the villages and towns within the MD.  In fact, Municipal Affairs has seen such a steady decline in the quality of village life that they have both a sustainability effort (3) and even process to dissolve the villages (4).  As a footnote, some counties have found creative ways to spend their money. (5) (6)