March 5th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 9
Crowsnest Pass finances by the numbers
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
At council and senior management’s budgetary planning session on Thursday, Feb. 27, Harrold Johnsrude, president of HJC Consulting presented some interesting numbers on how the Pass stacks up financially to 18 other Alberta communities.
Councillor Dean Ward published the data to his blog. All of the communities have a population of 3,600 to 6,800 residents.
The Pass is compared to Pincher Creek, Claresholm, Raymond, Grande Cache, Barrhead, Vermillion, Westlock, Didsbury, Jasper, Redcliff, Stettler, Vegreville, St. Paul, Wainwright, Devon, Peace River, Blackfalds and Ponoka.
The data was collected in 2012. Here are some highlights and analysis given by Johnsrude in an email interview.

High equalized assessment
The Pass had a high equalized assessment per capita with a median assessment of $169,142 per resident, second highest only Jasper. Equalized assessments are used to calculate property taxes, which the province uses to fund programs. They are used to level the playing field for municipalities so property tax requisitions are shared equally.
A high assessment can contribute to high property taxes, but the tax rate is what determines the amount owed on your property tax bill. Johnsrude says it would take a detailed analysis to learn why the Pass has a higher median assessment

Low municipal debt
The data shows the Pass had a low municipal debt per capita in compared to the other communities. In the Pass it was $211, while the median was $1,066.
“Debt isn’t bad if it’s managed properly,” Johnsrude told council during the budgetary planning session. “[But] it can be a long spinning cycle into a difficult situation in the years to come.”
“It appears that CNP has decided in the past not to take out long term debt to finance capital projects as much as other municipalities and also may not require short term loans for operating.” Wrote Johnsrude. “The average municipality in the population size of CNP has more long term debt. Some municipalities try to ‘pay as you go’ while others take out debt.”

Large tax base per capita
The data shows Pass residents contribute $1,218 in net municipal property taxes, as a revenue source per capita, while the group median is $874.
This appears to show Pass residents pay more property taxes per capita than other communities, but Johnsrude says it only appears this way because the Pass has a bigger tax base.
“The CNP equalized net municipal tax rate is a bit below the median for 2012 but the tax base per capita is the second highest,” he wrote. “Therefore, since the tax rate is applied to the tax base, the revenue per capita will be above the median.”
More financial data can be found on Councillor Ward’s blog.

March 5th ~ Vol. 84 No. 9
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