Oil and gas companies owing municipal property taxes should not get new licences, said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood on Tuesday. (Advocate file photo)

Oil and gas companies owing municipal property taxes should not get new licences, said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood on Tuesday. (Advocate file photo)

Energy companies that owe property taxes should not get new licences: Red Deer County mayor

$245 million in outstanding taxes owed to Alberta municipalities

The Alberta Energy Regulator should refuse to give new licences to energy industry companies that are not paying their property taxes, says Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.

“When you think about it, if they can’t pay their property taxes how are they going to do cleanup on those wells later on,” Wood asked Infrastructure Minister Ric McIver during the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) spring conference. It was a virtual event this year because of pandemic health restrictions.

An RMA survey of its 69 county and municipal districts found $245 million in back taxes from the oil and gas industry is outstanding.

The issue was to be discussed during a part of the conference where resolutions brought forward by member municipalities are up for debate. If adopted, the RMA lobbies the government to get some action on the issue.

Woodland County has sponsored a resolution that calls on the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) “to include as a condition of transfer of all oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal resource assets from one company to another that municipal property tax arrears be paid in full.”


Oil and gas companies owe $245 million in back property taxes

Red Deer County offers energy companies a tax break

Woodland County points to the example of one company that was seeking a tax arrears settlement. The company, which had not paid its municipal taxes for four years, had applied to the AER for licence transfers for 12 facilities and 149 wells from a bankrupt energy company, that itself had not paid property taxes for three years.

Municipalities want unpaid property taxes to be part of the financial viability test the AER uses before it approves licences.

McIver made no commitment to remedy the situation. It will be among the issues discussed in upcoming consultations with municipalities headed by Energy Minister Sonya Savage, who was not in on the virtual question-and-answer session on Tuesday.

Strathcona County Mayor Rod Frank said there is anxiety among some municipalities that an ongoing police review, including weighing the advantages of a provincial police force, could mean higher costs for rural municipalities.

Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said consultations are still underway but assured he would not support a provincial force if it boosted costs for municipalities

“I would struggle to see how I would put forward that recommendation at this point in time,” he said. “I am very particular in making sure that we avoided additional costs on municipalities.”

Should there be additional costs, the province would pick up the tab, he said.

The report coming forward will be “transparent at every step of the process,” he added.

Foothills County Mayor Suzanne Oel pressed Health Minister Tyler Shandro for evidence that a controversial decision to take away ambulance dispatch from Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and the Municipal District of Wood Buffalo improved patient outcomes.

Shandro said ambulance dispatch has been consolidated in most of the province since 2009 and has worked effectively. Firefighters can still be dispatched to medical calls if necessary even after the change, he said, adding he continues to discuss the issue with municipalities.

“The point of integrating dispatch was actually to make sure that ambulances get there quicker and as well that we can have not have 100 per cent of our patients going to the hospitals,” he said.

“We can also include a physician in the dispatch centre to help with those calls,” adding patients could be directed to other community health services besides a hospital.

News tips

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read