Alberta Urban Municipalities Association wants province to make tax changes

The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled last year that municipalities are unsecured creditors

The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is calling on the province to change legislation to allow local governments to collect property taxes from oil and gas properties when they fail.

The association also wants the Alberta Energy Regulator to consider unpaid property taxes as grounds to deny an energy company an operating licence.

“Since municipalities currently have no legislative tool to collect these owed taxes, we urge the provincial government to update the Municipal Government Act so that municipal property taxes can be collected from oil and gas properties in the event of bankruptcy or receivership,” AUMA President Barry Morishita said Friday in a release.

“Having municipalities shouldering these economic burdens from oil and gas companies impairs our economy.”

The association says it represents cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities where more than 85 per cent of Albertans live.

Morishita noted the association is in solidarity with the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, which earlier this week said the amount of unpaid property taxes that oil and gas companies owe its member communities has more than doubled over the last year.

The RMA says its member municipalities are owed a total of $173 million.

Association president Al Kemmere has said if Alberta’s property tax system is not amended to prevent oil and gas companies from refusing to pay property taxes, many rural municipalities will struggle to remain viable.

Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu said the Kenney government recognizes the effect the unpaid taxes is having on communities.

“We are working to identify potential tools that may help balance the interests of municipalities with the economic realities facing many employers since the 2014-15 downturn,” Madu said in a release.

“This issue is complex, particularly given some of the companies involved have long since gone out of business. Although we have taken immediate steps to provide industry and municipalities with short-term support in these difficult economic times, we know we cannot kick the can down the road.”

The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled last year that municipalities are unsecured creditors, which puts them at the back of the line for tax debt collection after a bankruptcy.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake RCMP on scene at serious, multi vehicle collision

There is no access westbound on Aspelund Road from the intersection.

Sylvan Lake businesses satisfied working in town, survey

The Chamber surveyed 100 local businesses and found 82 per cent are satisfied working in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce urges for end to rail blockades

Chamber President Keri Pratt urged the MP Blaine Calkins to help bring an end to the disruptions

Sylvan Lakers take a frozen dip for a cause

The annual Polar Bear Dip held during Winterfest is a fundraiser for organizations around town

Sylvan Lake Wranglers advance to face rival Red Deer

The Sylvan Lake Wranglers defeated the Rocky Rams in first round playoff action three games to one

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Carbon risk for Alberta’s public pension manager questioned

AIMCo says nearly $115 billion invested in carbon-intensive industries is on par with other funds

Worker, shocked at future Amazon warehouse in Nisku, has died: family

Colton Quast, 25, was taken to hospital and put in a medically induced coma

Blockade supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on rail line in Edmonton

‘Cuzzins for Wet’suwet’en’ post pics of wooden crates on line, signs saying ‘No Pipelines on Stolen Land’

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades a critical moment for country

First Nations leaders suggest it may be time to peacefully end the blockades

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Most Read