Update: November 10, 2020
On October 19, 2020, the provincial government announced a pause on proposed assessment model changes for oil and gas wells and pipelines for the next three years. However, in an effort to attract more investment and incentivise job creation in the industry, Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard announced a temporary tax exemption for new wells and pipelines and stated the government will lower assessment for less productive oil and gas wells. While the County is grateful that the proposed changes have been put on hold for now, the upcoming tax exemption and reduced assessment will impact the County’s future revenues. For 2021, the County expects to lose an estimated $725,000 in revenue.
“I would like to thank the County residents and all rural Albertans who lobbied the provincial government about the proposed changes to the assessment model” said Reeve Josh Bishop. “Your voice and support helped us reach a more acceptable alternative for rural municipalities. We appreciate Ministers Allard’s willingness to listen and work with rural municipalities on this issue and look forward to working together with the Minister and industry to find a long-term solution.”
In addition to the revenue shortfall listed above, the County’s 2021 budget will also be impacted by police costing model increases, reduced grant funding and unpaid taxes. “Council is working on ways to mitigate the effects of all the recent changes and will leave no stone unturned” stated Reeve Bishop. “Council is striving to limit the change to municipal taxes; however, residents can expect to see a slight increase to their taxes due to the increase in RCMP funding. Residents can also expect to see cuts to the County budget to make up for the revenue shortfall.”
View completed News Release.
Update: September 30, 2020
The Government of Alberta is considering a change to the assessment model for oil and gas wells and pipelines. While we understand that these changes are intended to enhance the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry, they will have serious ramifications and potentially extreme negative consequences on the sustainability of our municipality and smaller businesses in the industry. If these changes are approved, residents and other commercial property owners will be responsible for subsidizing a property tax break for the oil and gas industry. Changing the assessment model is inequitable and unfair, as it places the entire burden for an industrial tax break onto municipalities, without guaranteeing that savings would be reinvested in Alberta.
The County of Wetaskiwin has written a letter to the Premier expressing our many concerns with these proposed changes. The following letter and fact sheet were sent to all County residents and businesses to inform them of the potential impacts of these changes to our County. Please consider adding your voice to this matter.
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), on behalf of all rural municipalities, reviewed the information provided by the Government and analyzed the impacts thoroughly. In response to the proposed changes, RMA issued an Outcomes Summary and a Position Statement. They have also provided a prediction of the impact that each scenario will have on County of Wetaskiwin.
The Provincial Government is accepting input on the proposed assessment models from municipalities and other interested stakeholders. A template letter is available for you to use to send to our MLAs (Rick Wilson and Jason Nixon). Please feel free to edit this template letter to reinforce your own personal concerns.