Property owners in Airdrie could start receiving paperless assessment notices, tax notices and other documents from the City, following council’s unanimous vote to pass third reading on a new bylaw at a meeting March 16.
“In anticipation of this legislation being passed, an opt-in mechanism was added to myAIRDRIE in December of 2016 that allowed the City to gauge interest in an electronic communication initiative,” said Tammy Belsham with the City’s Legislative Services Department. “To date, approximately 2,100 residents have indicated their desire to receive assessment and tax notices electronically.”
According to Belsham’s report, the City would see a “considerable” cost savings – printing and mailing costs for assessment and taxation notices come to approximately $86,000 per year. Even with a 50 per cent opt-in rate, this would result in an annual savings of more than $40,000, potentially more as postage rates and parcel counts increase.
The move also provides benefits to residents, who would be able to easily locate their electronic communications “in one convenient location,” she said.
“Residents would have the ability to print off duplicate copies of notices or reprint a notice if it is misplaced, which would cut down on requests to City staff for reprints during tax season,” Belsham said.
The change follows legislation introduced in December 2019 with Bill 25: The Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, she said, which amended the Municipal Government Act to provide allowances permitting municipalities to send notifications regarding taxation and assessment through electronic means.
Municipalities are required to take appropriate measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of the information being sent – as such, myAIRDRIE allows residents to view notices for only those properties they have “linked” to their account, she said.
“Notices for ‘unlinked’ properties,” administration’s report states, “will still be sent by regular mail,” Belsham said.
Additionally, she added, residents can only “link” their property to their myAIRDRIE account by inputting a four-digit web code, which will be sent by the municipality to the resident directly via regular mail.
Airdronians will be able to indicate to the City if they prefer to receive communications electronically, Belsham said, and only those who have opted in will be notified in this way. Information on the initiative will be provided to residents with their 2020 tax notice.