As with all municipalities, the property tax is the largest and most-important revenue source for the Town. Property taxes and assessment are an important part of property ownership. Taxes help to ensure the citizens of the Town of Westlock have excellent services that contribute to a quality lifestyle. Property taxes provide the Town with the funds it needs to deliver the many day-to-day services and programs that citizens need, want and deserve - including:
- road construction and maintenance
- snow removal
- parks and leisure facilities
- police and fire protection
- seniors' services
Under the Alberta Municipal Government Act
, municipalities are responsible for collecting taxes for municipal and educational purposes. Property taxes are levied based on the value of the property as determined from the property assessment process. Property taxes are not a fee-for-service, but a way of distributing the cost for local government services and programs fairly throughout a municipality. Your property taxes are calculated using the market value assessment of your property. This means that each Town of Westlock taxpayer is contributing an equitable portion to fund municipal operations in the community. Annually, council approves a Tax Rate Bylaw, which sets the property tax rates for the current year.
The property tax system is comprised of two distinct processes - preparing the assessments, and setting the tax rate. The assessor’s job is to prepare assessments. The Town is responsible for completing the second process - setting the tax rate. In addition to setting the tax rate, it is responsible for calculating the taxes payable and collecting the taxes. Each year, council approves the Town's operating and capital budgets. From the approved budget, the Town establishes a tax rate (mill rate) to be applied to property assessments.
The finance unit is responsible for administering, maintaining and collecting of property taxes and assessments, including the issuance of tax certificates. All residential property owners pay annual property taxes, which are due July 31 each year. Property tax and assessment notices are mailed jointly in April or May of each year.