City out $4.2M in property taxes
Mayor Charlie Clark says the city is not alarmed at the shortfall.
Published Tuesday, February 12, 2019 6:59PM CST
The City of Saskatoon is $4.2 million short on tax collections from 2018.
“We’re not alarmed,” Mayor Charlie Clark said, noting the total assessment roll amounts to $34 billion.
The $4.2 million is $200,000 shy of the $4.4 million it would cost to hire 10 new Saskatoon police constables, a proposed item in the 2019 budget.
On Tuesday the city’s finance committee reviewed a report showing 923 outstanding liens, 633 of which were new in 2018.
“Obviously we would love that number to be zero, to have no liens, we have thousands and thousands and thousands of properties out there and we have people in different financial circumstances and that’s part of what we deal with,” Clark said.
Clark said 2018 saw a 12 per cent increase in the number of liens from 2017. The growing city, challenges in the economy and the assessment year in 2017 are contributing to the increased number of tax liens, Clark said.
The big contributors include a neighborhood shopping centre owing $109,000, 24 bare land condos owing $138,000 and 74 lowrise condo owners owing $246,000 collectively. The report shows the total money owed on 481 single family homes is $2.5 million - the amount the city is budgeting in 2021 for Circle Drive North bridge repair.
The finance committee will now wait for City Council to allow them to start notifying lienholders that they have tax arrears. Once notified, property owners will have 60 days to settle up with the city. After six months from the time of notice the city can go to the provincial mediation board and request a potential land title takeover.
Since 2013 the city has taken four land titles away from property owners.