Tired of chasing down taxes from residents of a pair of mobile home parks, Red Deer County is proposing park owners do the collecting.
County council was told Tuesday the municipality has had trouble collecting property taxes in Kountry Meadows and Melody Meadows manufactured home parks.
It is up to the park owners to let the county know about ownership changes and other information necessary to levy property taxes.
But that hasn’t been happening on a timely basis, county legislative services manager Nancy Lougheed told council.
The county has found itself sending tax bills to the wrong person, or losing out on taxes when homeowners move away and new owners are not known.
To fix the issue, a proposed bylaw would make the parks’ owners responsible for paying all residents’ taxes. Those bills would then be passed on to the manufactured homeowners through rents or other means.
Kountry Meadows is located just north of Benalto and Melody Meadows is just west of Red Deer.
A similar issue arose with Les’ Trailer Park in 2007, and the county took the same approach.
Some councillors were leery of singling out a pair of manufactured home parks for different tax treatment.
“It sounds like we should do it to all, so we’re consistent,” said Coun. Philip Massier.
Coun. Christine Moore also suggested a policy be created to treat all parks the same.
“My concern is the optics of this,” she said.
Council was told that the county has not had the same problems getting up-to-date tax information from other parks, so they were not included in the bylaw.
Mayor Jim Wood said it is the county’s job to make sure taxes are collected and all ratepayers are treated fairly.
“I think the key thing is that everyone is assessed a tax,” he said, following the council meeting. “And what’s happening now is we’re not getting the proper reporting necessary back from the folks at the trailer park.
“Eventually, people come and go and we have no way to even collect the taxes.
“We’ve done this in the past and it’s worked out very well.”
Wood said council has only passed first reading and anyone who wants to comment on the proposed bylaw can come to the Sept. 17 council meeting, when the issue will be further debated.