The new 2013 assessment figures, recently released to cities, towns, villages and other municipalities across the province confirm the worst predictions for homeowners. The average overall increase for residential assessment is 86 per cent.
These assessment increases will be this spring, in the same year when the province has decided to cancel the discounts for early payment of property taxes. The loss of the discount will already mean an automatic increase of 15 per cent for school taxes in most communities. The combined effect of the new assessments and the loss of the discount will have a major impact on all residential school taxes, whether the residence is a home in a city or town, and especially if the residence is a cottage at the lake (where the average assessment increase was 98 per cent!).
While the province has promised to lower the school mill rates to offset assessment increases, residential property owners worry that their share of the total school tax bill may continue to grow. Since the province assumed control of school mill rates in 2009, total costs for school taxes have been relatively stable overall.
The problem for residential property owners, however, is how the school tax bill is shared. While the agricultural share of the school tax bill has been cut in half since 2009, the residential share has continued to grow to more than 47 per cent of the total dollars raised.
“Not everyone understands that the province sets different school mill rates for agricultural, residential and commercial property. We believe it’s time to share fairly, to stop offloading the lion’s share of the costs of school taxes onto residential properties,” says Provincial Association for Resort Communities of Saskatchewan (PARCS) President Shirley Gange.
The Provincial Association for Resort Communities of Saskatchewan (PARCS) is a registered non-profit corporation that speaks on behalf of 10,000 residential property owners in Saskatchewan cottage communities.