The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has released its annual survey of property tax gaps between residential and commercial property owners in Saskatchewan, and Estevan ranked in the middle of the pack among the province's cities.
The report indicates that the average municipal tax for a commercial property worth $200,000 was $3,601 in 2012, while it was $1,606 for residential property owners.
Estevan's ratio of 2.24 last year was the same as in 2011. The city was tied with Meadow Lake for No. 6 in the province.
Martensville was No. 1 at 1.56, followed by Regina at 1.79. Yorkton was last at 3.72, while Weyburn was second-last at 3.47.
At one time, Estevan was last place in the CFIB ranking, but Estevan City Council has steadily been trying to reduce the ratio between commercial and residential property taxes for several years.
This city's commercial/residential ratio is now below the provincial average for cities of 2.51.
“Unfortunately, for small business owners, the majority of Saskatchewan municipalities saw their municipal tax gaps either worsen or stay the same in 2012,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president for Prairie and agri-business.
“Given that 29 municipalities have only modestly improved their municipal tax gap in 2012, it is troubling that small business owners continue to get the short end of the property tax stick.”
Braun-Pollon said the report should be required reading for municipal leaders before they determine their operating budgets for next year.
The report also examined the property tax rates in several other southeast municipalities.
Commercial property owners in Carlyle paid $7,260 for a property worth $200,000 in 2012, while residential ratepayers paid $3,515, for a ratio of 2.07, which was better than the ratio of 2.16 from the previous year.
Oxbow was at $7,800 for commercial property taxes and $3,906 for residential taxes, which left the town with a ratio of slightly less than 2.0. That community's ratio was nearly identical to 2011.
And Carnduff was at $7,476 for commercial properties and $4,416 for residential, which was a ratio of 1.80. The previous year the ratio was 1.88.