Ponoka County will soon have to absorb the loss of more than $660,000 in property taxes due to energy companies going under, while working to collect another $3 million in 2019 overdue taxes. Canadian Press photo

Ponoka County struck by large amount of unpaid property taxes

CAO now has some discretion in cancelling certain tax penalties

It’s not just the oil and gas sector that is having trouble paying its taxes to Ponoka County.

At the end of October, the county was owed $3.7 million in taxes, out of the almost $26 million it expects to collect. Of the outstanding taxes, $974,000 is mostly from residential and farmland properties.

“What is disturbing is almost a million in residential and farmland,” said Coun. Doug Weir recently.

“It’s an indication of the way things are going for people,” chief administrative officer Charlie Cutforth added.

“In a normal year, typically, our outstanding taxes is around $300,000 to $400,000.”

The remaining $2.7 million in taxes is from oil and gas. Of that, about $660,000 will be written off at the end of 2019 due to the bankruptcy of an energy company, while another $330,000 is in limbo as another energy company has sought protection from creditors.

“And there is, sad to say, no recourse if they are bankrupt,” Cutforth said of the energy operators. “If a farmer doesn’t pay his taxes, the county can eventually take the land.”

Penalties and costs for unpaid taxes have hit an unprecedented $436,000 — more than double the $200,000 budgeted.

Cutforth has received permission to use his discretion and cancel some of these penalties.

“We’ve had a number of payments made after the June 30 deadline, and in some cases, someone is a couple of days late, or has property in both the county and town and they pay both at the same time, though the town’s deadline is later,” he said.

“We have no real interest in penalizing people that want to pay or nicking people that are having trouble.”

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

Just Posted

Two day rainfall event wasn’t a record breaker for Red Deer

The two day rainfall event in Red Deer late last week wasn’t… Continue reading

Donald School of Business is returning to college’s main campus

Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business is moving back to the… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Sylvan Lake waiting for better days

COVID-19 has put the tourism season on hold for Sylvan Lake, but… Continue reading

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

David Marsden: Jason Kenney is all hat, no cattle

There are few character failings more unappealing than those of people who… Continue reading

Global warming critics find themselves under attack

Re: “Tropical storms offer glimpse of our evolving environment,” Gwynne Dyer, Opinion,… Continue reading

Scheer has quickly made a hash of Harper’s legacy

By the time Andrew Scheer hands over the Conservative party to a… Continue reading

Bayern, Dortmund warm up for quietest ever Bundesliga duel

BERLIN — Canada’s Alphonso Davies rose to the occasion on Saturday as… Continue reading

Ace Canadian esports driver Brooks tearing up the track online during COVID-19

TORONTO — Andrew Brooks could write a travelogue that would make a… Continue reading

Canadian Screen Awards to reveal winners tonight through Thursday

TORONTO — The Canadian Screen Awards will reveal this year’s winners in… Continue reading

Most Read