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Mountain View County welcomes oil, gas tax collection plan

NDP says legislation falls short and that "bad actors" should be prohibited from receiving licences
MVT oil pump sunset
Oil and gas companies owe rural municipalities more than $245 million in unpaid linear taxes, including more than $730,000 to Mountain View County. File photo

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — Proposed legislation aimed at providing municipalities with new tools to help collect overdue taxes from oil and gas companies is welcome, says Mountain View County reeve Angela Aalbers.

Tabled late last month, the amendments to the provincial Municipal Government Act under Bill 77 would restore a special lien that municipalities could use to require companies to pay overdue taxes owed.

Oil and gas companies owe rural municipalities more than $245 million in unpaid linear taxes, including more than $730,000 to MVC. 

“Mountain View County is pleased with the announcement of Bill 77,” said Aalbers. “It shows that municipal efforts to lobby the province to collect unpaid linear municipal taxes has paid off and we have been heard.”

If the county had to collect the $730,000 owed by companies from ratepayers, it would equate to an approximate 2.5 per tax increase, she noted.   

“Our other consideration would be to cut service levels or defer capital projects, neither being good options for our residents,” she said. 

The county plans to continue monitoring the risk of increases in unpaid linear taxes, she said. 

“We are hopeful we will get more information from the minister of Municipal Affairs on the mechanics of how the lien structure will work with respect to tax collection at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta conference in a few weeks,” she said.

Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver says while most oil and gas companies pay their taxes, some don’t and that makes the new legislation necessary.

“This legislation is intended to help municipalities go after these companies that refuse to play by the rules,” said McIver. “Bad actors who ignore the rules and don’t pay their taxes force everyone else to fill the gaps. It is not fair.”

Rural Municipalities of Alberta president Paul McLauchlin called the new legislation a positive move.

“These legislative changes are an important step toward ensuring that municipalities have the tools to hold oil and gas facility and related infrastructure owners accountable for property tax payments at the same level of responsibility as all other property owners.”

Rural Municipalities of Alberta represents 69 rural municipalities, including Red Deer and Mountain View counties.

The official Opposition says new legislation doesn’t go far enough.

“This legislation still lacks the necessary incentives to get companies to pay,” said municipal affairs critic Joe Ceci. “Municipal leaders have been calling for the Alberta Energy Regulator to prohibit licences from being granted to bad actors.”

Dan Singleton

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