County of Stettler council called a special meeting on Wed. Sept. 25 to discuss the immediate Shallow Gas Tax relief initiative.
The Shallow Gas Tax relief initiative implemented by the province is crediting shallow gas producers 35 per cent of their 2019 property taxes to qualified producers.
The province has brought this forward to help gas companies immediately relief in their taxes.
The county’s tax department has compiled a list of tax relief by company within the County of Stettler.
The County of Stettler will be reimbursed by the province in 2019 through the education property tax requisition in the amount of $766,454.32.
Administration is going to send out letters and invoices to qualifying companies, showing them their adjusted taxes before the tax deadline of Oct. 31, 2019.
With this program that the government has proposed is also going to be crediting municipalities through the location school requisition of the three-quarters of a million dollar amount.
Approximately four of the companies listed were confirmed to be in tax arrears already but this program does not affect arrears at all as the government is not focused on that at this time.
“One of the benefits, if you want to call it that, is a little relaxation for the County of Stettler, is that quite a few of the companies receiving this is Trident,” said Yvette Cassidy, County of Stettler Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
“So Trident won’t be paying us any money on their taxes because we know they are a sinking ship but we will get 35 per cent portion of these wells back out in the county.
“It’s offsetting the hit a little bit that we are taking in 2019.”
It was detailed in the notes of the initiative, if the requisition is not paid in full through this program, the county can still claim a portion of it through other programs they have put forward to them.
The tax rate is based on the assessment.
The education portion is not going to be affected by this program.
After discussion, council authorized the cancellation and/or a refund of 19 taxes paid or owing to be reduced by 35 per cent in property taxes levied.
Council passed this motion with one opposed to show diversity that some people do not agree with this initiative.
“Our farming community has definitely sent a message to me that we should not be unanimous in this,” said Coun. James Nibourg who opposed the motion.