City council relents on carbon levy

Costs Red Deer $279,583

Red Deer will reluctantly pay its $279,583 carbon levy to the province.

City council unanimously approved the cost during debate on the 2017 draft operating budget on Thursday. But most councillors made it clear they were not happy.

As of Jan. 1, the carbon levy was included in the price of all fuels that emit greenhouse gases when combusted and will increase the cost of natural gas and fuels for city facilities, vehicles and equipment.

Council has unsuccessfully advocated that the new provincial levy be revenue neutral for municipalities and not impact municipal property taxes.

The province says money from the tax will be invested in green solutions and municipalities are waiting to find out how to apply for grants to access the money.

Coun. Ken Johnston wanted to know why the city will have to compete with other municipalities for grants to get back what the city is paying.

“Now all of a sudden we have to jump in a pool with a bunch of other folks, if you will, and try to claw our way back to $279,583,” Johnston said.

“I’d like to put $279,583 number on our council office wall and see where we are in 12 months from now.”

Coun. Tanya Handley called the levy a double tax since the city was being taxed by another order of government that has to be passed onto residents.

Handley recommended that residents “take it up with your MLA.”

Mayor Tara Veer said the levy represents .22 per cent of the city’s proposed property tax increase.

“It is with reluctance that we add it to our budget from a financial perspective given the economy we’re navigating through. But we need to do it,” Veer said.

“We had every intention of updating our Environmental Master Plan for our community because it’s the right thing to do, not because we were told to do it.”

She said the city will work diligently to get the money back for the community, but it will take time, energy and resources.

Councillors Dianne Wyntjes and Paul Harris want the city to be prepared to apply for whatever grants the province makes available.

“There’s an opportunity in front of us as a result of this decision that’s made by another order of government that we need to advantage of in this community so we can see the results on our tax base and for our citizens,” Harris said.

As a result of other budget discussions on Thursday, council further reduced the proposed property tax increase to 2.20 per cent from 2.28. The reduced rate would add $44.82 per year on a home with an assessment value of $325,000.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Accused murderer takes stand

Jason Klaus said he had no idea his family would be killed by Joshua Frank

St. Patrick’s school modernization could include asbestos removal

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools have told staff, students and parents connected… Continue reading

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Providing more services while keeping taxes low is Blackfalds’ dilemma

Town has undergone years of above-average growth

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Creationist will speak at home-schooling convention in Red Deer

Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye on the Earth’s origins

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million, auditor general says

The federal government’s chronic salary struggles will take more time and more… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month