It's tax season! Although most people think of income tax during tax season, staff at Town Hall are working hard to get everything prepared for property tax notices to be sent out in early May.
Property taxes are one of the largest sources of Town revenue. In 2016, Drumheller collected $8.5 million in property taxes, out of a total revenue of $18.6 million.
Drumheller Town Councillor Tom Zariski explained to process.
"What assessment is, is that's basically where the Town get its revenue from taxes. The Town of Drumheller employs an assessment firm and the assessors go around and they value people's properties. That value is put into the equation with the mill rate and that gives the taxation rate for that particular property."
Although the assessors work hard to make sure they get it right, sometimes mistakes are made and properties are mis-assessed. Anyone who believes their property has been mis-assessed is able to file an appeal with the Assessment Review Board. This Board is made up of two Councillors and two members at large.
At a council meeting on Feb. 12, Zariski told the other Councillors about a recent four-day course he went on to learn the ins-and-outs of property assessment.
"You want to have accurate, fair assessments of property. You don't want to have somebody ending up paying more taxes than somebody else in the community that has an equal-valued property."
Zariski told Council that he recommends all Councillors take the course because of its informational value. However, he mentioned that the cost of everyone attending could be prohibitive.
"We got into all sorts of intricacies of what assessment is and how an assessor comes up with a particular figure. And then, we got into taxation [and] how the taxation fits into assessment. We also even talked about community organizations that are, for example, exempt from taxation."
Despite the course's duration and the amount of detail covered, Zariski told Council he scored a 96 per cent on the final exam. He asks that anyone interested in learning more about how property is assessed to contact him.