By Stu Salkeld The Pipestone Flyer
County of Wetaskiwin council has turned down a request from a taxpayer to erase a property tax bill dating back three years. The denial was made at the Dec. 18 regular meeting of council.
The request was made by property owner Roxanne Rogers, noted County CAO Rod Hawken.
“Correspondence requesting tax relief due to financial hardship was received on December 6, 2018 from Roxanne Rogers regarding the outstanding taxes on her property, legally described as SE-32-45-22-W4M – Plan 9421124, Lot 1,” stated Hawken in his report.
“A landowner’s responsibility is to ensure their taxes are paid and kept current. The property in question is currently three years overdue and has $7,515.48 unpaid taxes and fees outstanding.”
“A review of Administrative records confirms that the tax/assessment notices were mailed as required and there is no record of an assessment appeal ever being received. All correspondence has been sent to the address that is registered on the land title certificate as required by the Municipal Government Act. There were none of the letters sent received back as undeliverable. The mailing address has been confirmed as correct with the property owner and there were numerous phone conversations conducted in 2018.
“If the tax arrears remain unpaid and the landowner does not enter into a payment agreement to address the outstanding taxes, Administration will continue the tax recovery process set out in the Municipal Government Act and the property will be auctioned off in May of 2019.”
Documents presented at the meeting showed Rogers made a payment of $2,500 in 2016, zero payment in 2017 and a payment of $935 in 2018.
Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers asked if the usual methods of solving these problems had been used. “Was she offered a repayment plan?” asked Rooyakkers.
Hawken responded, “Yes. It’s too high.” Hawken stated the county intends to sell Rogers’ property through tax recovery rules; the amount needed to pay the arrears is kept, the rest of the money is given to Rogers.
Councilor Lyle Seely said collecting taxes is a typical responsibility of a county, and paying them is a typical responsibility of a property owner. “Part of owning land is you have to be prepared to pay the taxes,” said Seely.
A motion to deny the request was unanimously passed.