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Mountain View County advocates provincial departments take action

Unpaid oil and gas taxes and river hazard study support items of interest
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MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has called for provincial government to do more to address the issue of million of dollars of unpaid taxes owed to municipalities by oil and gas companies.

During the April 14 council meeting, councillors approved a number of intergovernmental communication committee requests for government action by a number of provincial ministries.

The summaries are being sent to the respective departments, as well as to local members of the legislative assembly and the area member of Parliament.

Regarding more than $250 million in unpaid oil and gas taxes owed by oil and gas companies to municipalities, the summary to the minister of Municipal Affairs calls for immediate government action.

Specifically it encourages the department to “advocate for an effective and proactive mechanism for municipalities to recover unpaid municipal taxes from oil and gas companies which could include a requirement by the Alberta Energy Regulator that municipal taxes are paid prior to approving new licences or licence transfers.”

Mountain View County has realized $731,563 in unpaid oil and gas property taxes in 2020, representing nearly 87 per cent of all non-residential property taxes. Of that total, more than 70 per cent is owed by companies that are still operational.

“Mountain View County has been proactive in encouraging some oil and gas companies to enter into tax agreements that would see property taxes eventually paid in full, but this interim solution results in cash flow challenges for the municipality,” the summary states. 

The note to the minister of Municipal Affairs also calls on the department to “ensure that affected residents receive sufficient support during the Upper Red Deer River Hazards Study consultations, and once the mapping is released to the public to adequately understand the impact on their property and the provincial strategy to assist them.”

The note to Alberta Environment and Parks calls on the department to “allow municipalities to provide comment on the updates of the Code of Practices for Asphalt Paving Plants and for Gravel pits prior to finalizing” and that “policy decisions across the department rearing these practices are consistently applied and communicated” with the public.

A review of the code by the department is currently underway.

The note to Alberta Education calls on the department to “investigate the dual credit model used by the Chinook’s Edge School Division in partnership with Olds College  as a province-wide model to reduce the potential for duplication and leverage the learnings from this partnership to eliminate unneeded spending of already scarce dollars for education.”

The note to Alberta Health asks the department to “add the Sundre Community based Rural Health Campus plan to the ministry’s capital expenditure plan and advocate to the Ministry of Infrastructure that it be placed as a provincial priority for 2020.”

The note to Alberta Infrastructure calls on the department to add the Sundre campus project to the  provincial infrastructure plan.

In November both the county and the Town of Sundre sent a letter to both ministries outlining support for the project. 

The note to the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation calls on the department to work with Service Alberta to “reinforce the benefits of advocating to the federal government for reliable and effective rural broadband internet could have on the economic growth and  diversification of rural Alberta.”

It also called on the department to “engage and connect with a broad cross-section of rural municipalities, including Mountain View County, to  encourage diversifying the ag sector growth opportunities across the province.”

The note to the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General deals with police and municipal engagement strategy and provincial police force issues.

It calls on the department to “commit to a comprehensive engagement of municipal leaders during their review of the feasibility of a provincial police force and the impact that decision may have on local issues” and that the ministry “provide a firm commitment that financial contributions from municipalities for policing will not be increased regardless of the province’s decision on a provincial police force.”

The note to the minister of Transportation calls on the department to “advocate for sustainable and predictable funding dedicated for bridges to assist with the growing expenses that rural municipalities face maintaining bridges now under their jurisdiction.”

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