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Tax strategy giving Coaldale competitive edge for attracting new business

Posted on September 6, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

Data shows the town of Coaldale is a great place to set up shop.

According to the Town’s 2022 Comparative Analysis, many of Coaldale’s peer communities continue to see increases to non-residential mill rates, while Coaldale’s has remained constant over the last four years.

The 2022 Comparative Analysis was published this spring, and provides a side-by-side summary of how the Town ranks in seven key benchmarks, compared to similarly-sized, and geographically-proximate municipalities. These comparable municipalities include Blackfalds, Drumheller, Edson, Innisfail, Lethbridge, Lethbridge County, Ponoka, and Taber.

With infrastructure upgrades such as the completion of the wastewater lagoon in 2022, and council’s adoption of an updated Industrial Incentive Policy in February 2023, the Town is thinking “big-picture” on long-term sustainable growth, and implementing tangible policy changes to ensure Coaldale is an attractive place to invest in business.

The 2022 Comparative Analysis document shows comparable communities such as Blackfalds, Drumheller, and Edson, saw increases to non-residential mill rates upwards of eight per cent over the last four years, while Coaldale’s non-residential mill rate fell by 3.2 per cent. Lethbridge County also saw an overall decrease of nearly two per cent to the non-residential mill rate. Even the comparatively more expensive City of Lethbridge’s rate remained relatively stable at just under one per cent, while Taber’s increased by just over six per cent since 2018.

For the Town of Coaldale, these figures translate to a “significant” increase in non-residential assessment growth per capita, which is 55 per cent more growth per capita than the City of Lethbridge and over 80 per cent more growth per capita than the neighbouring Town of Taber, and nearly 200 per cent more non-residential assessment growth than Lethbridge County.

An Aug. 31 press release noted the data indicates, “Coaldale’s competitive approach to taxation appears to be working.” Director of Growth and Investment for the Town, Cameron Mills summarized the findings as follows: “As the data reveals, all of Coaldale’s neighbouring municipalities have seen, and are continuing to see, above average non-residential assessment growth.”

“We know that if a municipality’s approach to taxation is working, there should be a correlation between how competitive its mill rates are and how much assessment growth it sees, especially when compared to its regional neighbours.”

Mills explained the findings reflect the competitive position of the region, and cited Canada’s Premier Food Corridor as a major driver of growth, and said, “non-residential mill rates are having a positive impact on driving business to the community.”

The 2022 Comparative Analysis can be read in its entirety by visiting https://www.coaldale.ca/ComparativeAnalysis.

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