Red Deer County tax shortfall a ‘sign of the times’

Taxes from energy companies are trickling in slower than usual in Red Deer County.

Taxes from energy companies are trickling in slower than usual in Red Deer County.

There are $8.4 million worth of outstanding taxes — $1.6 million of it linear taxes for pipelines, power lines and similar infrastructure — according to a budget update provided to county council on Tuesday.

About $2 million more in taxes are outstanding than this time last year, said Heather Gray-Surkan, county corporate services director.

“It is a bit of a concern, for sure,” said Gray-Surkan of the outstanding energy taxes. The county is working with oilpatch firms to bring the tax accounts up to date.

Coun. Philip Massier said uncollected taxes can be a big problem for municipalities because the money collected as school taxes must be passed on to the province whether or not it has been received yet.

“The $8 million (in total taxes owed) frightens me a lot,” said Massier.

Mayor Jim Wood believes the tax shortfall is a “sign of the times.”

While it’s always a concern when taxes aren’t paid on time, the county is in good financial shape and easily able to absorb tardy tax payments, and write-offs if it comes to that, said Wood.

As well, the county is able to undertake all of its spending plans even if some taxpayers default.

Should a tax-owing company wind up in bankruptcy the municipality is first on the list of creditors to be paid out, he said.

Wood does not believe it is time to ring the alarm. While taxes are coming in slower than usual from some quarters the money may come in later.

Meanwhile, the county will be watching closely and make final adjustments, if necessary, later in the year.

Uncollectible school taxes have been an issue of concern for municipalities for some time. In its spring Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties convention, a resolution was proposed urging the province to broaden the powers of municipalities to collect linear taxes. Also, the province was asked to provide a credit to municipalities that are out of pocket because of uncollectible school taxes.

Just Posted

Air Canada reviewing how crew left passenger on parked plane

Air Canada said Sunday it’s looking into how crew members could have… Continue reading

New technology helps search teams find people in wilderness

HONOLULU — Yesenia D’Alessandro loaded a GPS tracking app on her cellphone… Continue reading

Senior Facebook executive says it would favour regulation

LONDON — A senior Facebook executive says the social media site is… Continue reading

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques set to return after more than six months in space

LONGUEUIL, Que. — David Saint-Jacques is set to return to Earth on… Continue reading

Ham radio operators in central Alberta tune in

Amateur radio enthusiasts in central Alberta tuned in for the weekend. Central… Continue reading

WATCH: Hundreds run in the 5K Foam Fest in Red Deer

The annual event took place at Heritage Ranch on Saturday

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse lands same job with Canada’s men’s team

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is the new coach of Canada’s… Continue reading

Steamy romance novelist Judith Krantz dies at 91

LOS ANGELES — Writer Judith Krantz, whose million-selling novels such as “Scruples”… Continue reading

Flying Wallendas safely cross Times Square on high wire

NEW YORK — Two siblings from the famed Flying Wallendas safely crossed… Continue reading

UK: Police visit incident dogs Johnson’s leadership campaign

LONDON — The leading contender to become Britain’s next prime minister is… Continue reading

Trump: ‘Surprise’ question about Pence led him to hesitate

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he hesitated when asked about endorsing… Continue reading

Indigenous drummers lead pipeline protesters on 22-kilometre march in Victoria

VICTORIA — The government approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion won’t stop… Continue reading

Retired UBC professor Peter Winterburn killed in Chile, school confirms

VALPARAISO, Chile — A retired geochemistry professor from the University of British… Continue reading

Sask. Premier Scott Moe participates in Pride parade in Saskatoon

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe participated in his first Pride parade… Continue reading

Most Read