Municipal Affairs creates work group to address requisition taxes

Economic climate: a breeding ground of tax collection challenges

After reaching out to the Minister of Municipal Affairs in an attempt to address the issue of uncollected requisitions for education property taxes and seniors housing, the County of Wetaskiwin has been thanked for sharing their concerns.

Municipalities are mandated to collect the School Tax Requisition and Seniors Housing Requisition — at pre-set rates — and remit them to the Government of Alberta.

During Wetaskiwin county councils Sept. 19, 2017, council meeting, councillors approved the motion to contact Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson, requesting amendments to the Municipal Government Act.

On Oct. 10 the Ministry responded to the county’s letter with one of its own. Within the letter it is stated, while the Municipal Government Act (MGA) has provision for municipalities to collect such debts it is recognized the methods can be difficult to implement.

The letter of response reads, “Municipal affairs recognizes the non-collection of property taxes has become more challenging in the current economic environment. We also recognize this situation will likely continue as the economy recovers. The Municipal Government Act has provisions to collect such debts; however, I recognize these methods can be difficult to implement.

In response to this issue, which was brought forward at the fall 2016 and spring 2017 Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, (AAMDC) conventions, Municipal Affairs assembled a cross-ministry working group with representatives from Municipal Affairs, Treasury Board and Finance, Education, Energy, Environment and Parks, the Alberta Regulator, and AAMDC. The working group is exploring ways to address uncollectable property taxes related to delinquent industrial properties — specifically oil and gas properties which do not have easily seized assets. I am waiting for a report back from the working group, and I will have more information to share regarding possible resolutions to this issue once I have examined the group’s findings and recommendations.

The letter was signed Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson.

County councillors accepted the letter as information at their Nov. 7 general meeting.

amelia.naismith@pipestoneflyer.ca

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