Leduc County council approved drilling tax

Municipality approves well drilling tax bylaw, removes old one

Leduc County councillor Rick Smith

Leduc County councillor Rick Smith

A well drilling equipment bylaw implemented Dec. 22 after approval during the Leduc County council meeting allows council to impose a tax in respect to drilling equipment used within the county.

In it’s place another bylaw was rescinded and council says the new bylaw is created following the Municipal Government Act.

“This will be in effect to Dec. (31) 2019,” said Rob Ballhorn, director of assessment services.

Coun. Rick Smith wondered if approving the bylaw would place more hardship on the oil and gas industry, which is already suffering.

“This is required,” said Ballhorn. “This is set out by the province.”

Ballhorn added the rates would have been determined by the previous government and Mayor John Whaley agreed this plan had been set to come into place for the last few years.

Smith says he is struggling with the idea of adding more costs to the industry. “I’m against costs right now.”

Council says much of the drilling that takes place nowadays is done by fracking. Coun. Audrey Kelto says with this new tax the county would be able to recover some of the cost of damage done by they activity without having to hit the ratepayers hard.

Smith voted against first reading while the other councillors were in favour of the bylaw. Second reading, to go to third and final and third and final reading were all unanimous.