A group representing small and medium-sized businesses is asking city council to “hold the line on property taxes” in the upcoming budget, or risk driving jobs out of the city.
Prosperity Edmonton said in a statement it is offering “to partner with the city to find ways to manage growth without resorting to property tax hikes that will hurt Edmonton’s job-creators.”
The group says between 2006 and 2016, the number of businesses in Edmonton grew by 11 per cent, but the overall commercial tax bill climbed by 124 per cent.
Meanwhile, the city’s operational spending more than doubled.
“Edmonton businesses continue to grapple with cost increases from all orders of government,” said Janet Riopel, president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce.
“In this four-year budget [cycle] the city must identify operational savings to reverse the trend of ever-increasing property taxes,” she said in the release.
Mayor Don Iveson said the increases are a result of the city having to repair roads, sidewalks and expanding the LRT.
“Whether it was neighbourhood renewal, or paving the roads or building rec centres, you know, those things all came to cost and we were responding over the last 10 years to Edmontonians saying you can’t let the city fall apart because that would be bad for business.
“I think we were always transparent about that.”
However, the city is getting more help from more senior levels of government for big-ticket items such as transit investment, he said.
Looking for savings
The statement noted that commercial property taxes in Edmonton are 17 per cent higher than in Calgary.
“Property taxes for businesses in Edmonton are rising faster than large cities around Canada,” said Anand Pye, executive director at NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
Iveson said the city works with the chamber every year to find ways to make Edmonton more competitive.
He said council will look at holding tax rates during fall budget talks.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.