Between April and July of 2020, the Government of Alberta's conducted a review of the assessment model for oil and gas properties. The purported intent of this review is to “modernize” the assessment model for oil and gas properties and thus enhance industry competitiveness while ensuring municipal viability.
It is the County’s position that the Province will achieve neither of these outcomes with its ill-conceived, industry-biased model. Rather, this model would strike a crippling blow to rural Albertans already struggling under the weight of a fiscal downturn; a global pandemic; and the Province’s recent rural policing cost download.
The Government of Alberta is currently considering changes to the assessment model for regulated properties such as oil and gas wells and pipelines. Notably, no municipal leaders were involved in this review; nor was the County even aware of such a review prior to public notice of the Province’s finalized recommended changes to the model on Friday, July 24, 2020.
If implemented, the UCP's assessment model will strike a crippling blow to rural Albertans already struggling under the weight of a fiscal downturn; a global pandemic; and the Province’s recent rural policing cost download.
The impacts of shifting the tax burden from industry to residential would be severe, and would likely worsen after the first year of implementation. The Province has refused to provide access to the data required to conduct a multi-year impact assessment. Initial scenarios based on current available data are shown Here.
The Big Picture
Large oil & gas players want lower property taxes to enhance their competitiveness. The Alberta Government has caved to this industry pressure by proposing a drastic reduction in the County's non-residential assessment base (oil & gas properties and equipment).
The County thinks this is a disastrous plan and wants to stop the Province from putting it into motion.
Timeline of Events
Projected Local Impacts
'It's going to hurt': Tax break for oil and gas firms would drain rural budgets, communities warn
Excerpt from CBC Edmonton: A plan to give oil and gas companies a break on municipal property taxes would deal massive blows to the revenues of Alberta's rural governments, warns a group representing the province's counties and municipal districts.
If the overhaul to the provincial rate assessment model is pursued, rural councils would be forced to balance their budgets through steep residential tax hikes or deep cuts to municipal services, said Al Kemmere, president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA).
Some rural municipalities simply may not survive, Kemmere said. "Nobody lives in a Cadillac world here," Kemmere said. "Rural Albertans often get by with the marginal, but when you reduce like this, it's going to hurt.