Sturgeon Council forced to consider tax hike
The Province has informed Sturgeon Council that it is considering amendments to the current assessment model for properties such as oil and gas wells and pipelines. For Sturgeon County, the proposed changes could mean a permanent, overall revenue loss between $646,000 and $1,578,000 annually. To cover this shortfall would require a tax increase of between 4.4 to 10.8 per cent.
For the average, rural Sturgeon County resident with an assessed property value of $388,500 a 10% tax increase means paying an additional $141.60 per year. For the average Sturgeon County resident living in the Valley with an assessed property value of $739,500, the changes will mean paying $269.54 more per year.
“We are extremely concerned with and severely opposed to the changes to the assessment model for regulated properties such as wells and pipeline,” said Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw. “As a Council, our goal has always been to reduce the tax burden on citizens but with these proposed changes, on top of the additional policing costs, the Province has put us in a difficult situation.”
In 2019, the Government of Alberta released a new police costing model for municipalities that will see Sturgeon County pay an additional $6 million over the next five years.
“We rely on a fair, objective, and consistent property assessment system to adequately plan and budget for vital municipal services in Sturgeon County,” said Mayor Hnatiw. “We have already responded to other provincial legislative changes by creating a regional incentive program to attract investment. This program is now in serious jeopardy because of these proposed changes.”
Earlier this year the five members of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association approved a regional incentive program for businesses that plan to invest within the Heartland. The program and its incentives depend on maintaining the current provincial assessment model.
“Municipalities were not consulted about the changes and the entire process lacks transparency. This is an issue that will not only impact Sturgeon County, but all of Alberta,” said Mayor Hnatiw. “Going forward, we will keep meeting with the Province to ask them to reconsider these changes. In the meantime, we felt that it was important to let our residents know how this Provincial decision could impact them.”
The Government of Alberta has given municipalities until the end of August to provide feedback on the proposed changes. Any changes made to the assessment model by the Province will affect Sturgeon County’s budget decisions this fall.
For more information on the proposed changes, visit https://bit.ly/3a3ZMSb
Sturgeon County residents who are concerned about these proposed changes can contact:
Honourable Kayee Madu, QC
Minister of Municipal Affairs
5160 Windermere Boulevard
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6W 0L9
Honourable Dale Nally
Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity
Office of the Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Energy
319 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-0265
Fax: 780 644-1222
Mr. Shane Getson
MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland
#18, 4708 Lac Ste. Anne Trail North
P.O. Box 248
Onoway, Alberta T0E 1V0