Education portion of property tax going up; don't blame Town Hall

The good news for town of Battleford residents is there’s no increase in the municipal portion of property taxes.

The bad news is the education portion of property tax is going up.

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Battleford mayor Ames Leslie confirmed that the mill rate for the education property tax was increasing. Leslie said that the town of Battleford had nothing to do with that increase; instead it was a provincial decision in the provincial budget.

The province had increased spending in education in the budget, Leslie said, and one of the ways they would pay for it is through increasing the mill rate.

“This is not the town increasing the town taxation,” Leslie emphasized. “The town does collect this on behalf of the province.”

What it means is some sharp increases in most categories, except for agricultural property. According to Leslie, agricultural property goes down to 1.36 mills from 1.43 mills last year; residential property went up from 4.12 to 4.46 mills; commercial/industrial rise from 6.27 to 6.75 mills; and resources go up to 9.79 mills from 9.68 mills.

Last December, council had adopted a 2021 budget with a zero increase for general operations and utilities, but that only applies to the municipal portion of taxes and not the education portion.

Leslie told council he was “sure” they would get phone calls on this issue in the coming days, but would try and remind them it was a provincial decision.

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