The County of Stettler council waived over $4,000 in tax penalties after a business forgot to pay their taxes on time.
The decision was made at the Feb. 10 regular meeting of council streamed on the municipal YouTube channel.
Councillors read a report submitted by Sharon Larsen, tax and utilities clerk, noting a local unnamed business apparently forgot to pay their taxes and were requesting the thousands of dollars in late penalties be forgiven.
“A ratepayer is requesting council to consider forgiveness on the November 2020 penalty and the February 2021 penalty,” stated Larsen’s memo to council.
“The ratepayer is requesting forgiveness on the November penalty of $2,239.39 and February 2020 penalty of $1,970.66.
“As this is a new taxable property in 2020 with the current unpredictable environment they had unintentionally missed the payment deadline.
“The 2020 levy was paid on Jan. 29, 2021.”
It was noted in the memo, county staff recommended councillors waive either part or all of the penalties.
Larsen said in her memo and at the council meeting councillors, last October, stated they would consider forgiveness of certain penalties due both to the economic situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coun. James Nibourg asked if the county still mailed out tax notices on time.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy answered the taxpayer in question is a new business that had some staff working from home due to the pandemic and apparently the municipal tax bill got missed in the shuffle.
Larsen noted at the meeting the February penalty was based on the amount of taxes that were still outstanding.
The staff memo stated that the Municipal Government Act (MGA) grants the authority to councillors to waive taxes and penalties if councillors feel it is equitable to do so.
Coun. Ernie Gendre stated he didn’t have a problem waiving the penalties because the county should be supporting business not discouraging business.
Councillors approved waiving all of the penalties to the unnamed business by a 6 to 1 vote, Nibourg the lone dissenter.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter