Carbon tax could affect city’s budgets

The City of Red Deer is waiting to hear what a carbon tax would mean to municipalities.

The City of Red Deer is waiting to hear what a carbon tax would mean to municipalities.

Coun. Ken Johnston raised the issue during the morning portion of the 2016 capital budget debate on Tuesday. He wanted to know whether the details of the plan would be available in time for the operating budget debate in January.

City manager Craig Curtis said it is too early to say. He said the city has been waiting for budget details for a long time.

“The big question is, will municipalities be at all exempt?” said Curtis. “If we are not exempt then we anticipate it will have a very, very significant impact and we may have to change our capital plan to accommodate items that would reduce green house gases.”

Coun. Paul Harris asked whether the federal government’s newly announced funding for green initiatives has been factored into the planning.

Curtis said it certainly would and the city looks forward to hearing more from the federal government. He said the only funding announced has been for large cities. The city expects to hear more in 2016.

The Alberta government released its new climate-change plan that introduces a carbon tax for individuals and industry on Sunday.