Council waives property tax penalties after property damaged by fire

Alix, Ab
Written by Stu Salkeld

Alix village council agreed to waive late penalties applied to a property owner’s bill after the lady spoke to them in person at their Oct. 5 regular council meeting.

Dorothy Lee appeared before council as a delegation to ask for the waiving of late penalties applied to her tax roll and explained the property in question had been damaged by fire.

Lee asked that councillors waive the late fee applied on Aug. 1, and added that if they could also waive the upcoming late fee after New Years it would give her time to sort out what she wants to do with the property.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White gave a report on the circumstances surrounding Lee’s property “On Feb. 9, 2022 there was a structure fire at 4903 49th Street in Alix,” stated White’s report.

“Alix Fire Department responded to the call and Clive Fire Department responded as mutual aid. In accordance with fire department response fees policy the property owner was charged with costs associated with fire suppression services.

The village’s fire suppression policy charges $500 per hour for the fire engine’s first hour plus $250 for every half hour afterwards, plus $350 for the each additional unit’s first hour followed by $175 for every additional unit’s half hour afterwards.

White stated the village helped Lee after the fire occurred.

“Public Works staff provided and installed barricades around the property after the fire was extinguished at no cost to the property owner,” stated the CAO.

“Barricades were left in place while arrangements were made for site clean up. In the end it was negotiated with the property owner that the village would complete site clean up and invoice the owner back for associated costs.

The property is very close to Alix MAC School and posed a safety hazard if debris/open hole was left on the property. Clean up was completed April 11, 2022.”

White stated the village sent Lee a bill for the fire fighting costs plus the clean up on April 27, 2022. “Outstanding charges were transferred to the property tax account on June 1, 2022,” stated White, who added the property tax bill was paid by Alix’ July 31 deadline.

During discussion White asked Lee if the penalty dollar amount could be discussed and Lee agreed, with White noting the Aug. 1 penalty was $1,595.25.

Coun. Ed Cole asked if insurance would cover the losses.

Lee responded, “I didn’t have insurance. Lee stated that when she bought the property her insurance company declined to cover it for fire risk, “…because the building is over 100 years old.”

Lee stated she never called any other insurance companies.

Lee told councillors she believed the fire was intentionally lit, “…and it wasn’t children.”

During discussion the CAO also stated that, going back 10 years, the tax bill on this property was always paid on time.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to waive the August 2022 penalty plus the upcoming January, 2023 penalty on Lee’s property tax roll.

White added that gives Lee almost a year to make arrangements to pay the property tax bill.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.