Residents of Portage la Prairie have an important note from the city to keep in mind regarding property tax changes this year.

Councillor and Chair of Finance, Legislation, and Property Joe Masi says this year's tax statements have distinct and significant changes to the net taxes paid by property owners.

"I think it's really important that that message gets out to the residents. As they receive their tax statement, they'll see a decrease from previous years, and there are three components as to why that's happening. Number one; I think the council did a very good job of keeping our municipal property taxes only at 1.73 per cent increase, lower than inflation. That has helped in terms of getting to this reduction. The second one is that the School Tax Rebate that used to send a cheque in the mail, and someone didn't know what it was about, that rebate is going to come right off their tax statements."

He notes this is a direct reduction rather than by way of a cheque. There will be no rebate cheque, and instead, the taxes will be decreased.

"You're going to see a direct reduction off your property taxes on that rebate. There's no change to the Manitoba Education Property Tax Credit advance. That's the $350.00 that goes to your primary residence only. Between those three things, you're going to see a significant reduction in your property tax statement when you receive it from the city."

Masi outlines an example of the degree of change in the taxes.

"All of this is predicated upon the fact that that you've had no significant changes to your home. For the assessed value of your home of $250,000, what you're going to see is that the Municipal Taxes will be $2,362. The School Division Taxes will be $1,392. The Education Property Tax Credit Advance -- the one that goes right to your primary residence that I said everybody gets -- will be $350.00 that's coming off. And then the School Tax Rebate will be $696 will be coming off your taxes. So, the total and Net Property Taxes will be $2,708.00."

He adds if your house is assessed at about $250,000, you're going to see a net decrease of $605.00 for properties in the upcoming tax statement. 

Masi explains between what council has done to keep our property taxes at a very modest increase and some of the changes and rebates to the education coming right off the statement, people will see a net reduction. 

"For a $500,000 commercial property for a municipal site assessed at $500,000, the municipal taxes will be $6,823. The School Tax will be $4,023. Businesses are also levied an education-support levy -- that's on businesses only -- $2,642. They will also get the School Tax Rebate coming off their Property Tax Statement of $667. So, their total taxes would be $12,821. That is also a decrease in net taxes of $407.00 compared to 2023. So, both the commercial and residential are getting a reduction in their Property Tax Statement. That will affect the bulk of residents and property owners, if you've had no change to your assessment, and your home is basically similar to last year." 

He adds there's also a note for those specifically on the Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) and their property taxes monthly.

"They will see a significant decrease also in their monthly payment beginning in July. This is due to the School Tax Rebate being applied directly to this tax statement. Then in January of 2025, there has to be a recalculation, and they will see a slight increase in their monthly payments, but it's still less than last year's monthly statement."

Masi says this is due to the manner in which the rebate is spread and distributed over 12 months instead of 6. 

"If people have questions on that one, they should phone City Hall and talk to our finance people. But again, those on monthly payments will also see a reduction in their monthly payments starting in July."