Survey results show large oil and gas tax burden for municipalities

Written by Terri Huxley

Starland county council and administration reviewed the results of Rural Municipality of Alberta’s (RMA) unpaid oil and gas tax survey.

Of note, the county found they were one of six municipalities in the province to have written off over $10 million in this category.

“We want to be special but not in that way,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Shirley Bremer.

According to the RMA, overall, RMA members face a total tax burden in oil and gas taxes of $253.7M which represents 3.3 per cent increase from last year and a 213.2 per cent increase from 2019’s survey.

The average tax amount owing is $3,676,657 from the oil and gas industry.

Municipalities have written off nearly $131M in unpaid taxes since 2015.

Only two municipalities have no unpaid taxes with an additional five under $100,000.

Hamlet nuisance bylaw

Council reviewed the latest version of Bylaw 1184 – Nuisance Abatement Bylaw, making a few changes.

It was re-named to Hamlet Nuisance Abatement Bylaw to reflect the direct relation this particular bylaw has to hamlets rather than the entirety of the county.

If complaints arise for the rural areas of Starland, administration agreed to look into another bylaw to cover this.

All mentioning of peace officer were changed to designated officer to make it consistent across the bylaw.

‘Loud Noise’ means a noise which annoys, disturbs, injures, endangers or detracts from the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of other persons.

Lastly, ‘no person shall allow property or a thing under their control or owned by that person to be used so that there originates from that property or thing any loud noise or continuous noise which disturbs the peace, comfort, or repose of other persons.’

Specified penalties/offences were added between $500 and $1,500.

Council passed the renamed bylaw with all three readings.

RCMP follow-up

A follow up email was given to administration about council’s concerns raised during Sgt. Ed Bourque’s presentation to council at the Feb. 23 meeting.

Councillor John Rew asked about updated information on the gun buy-back program created by the Liberal government as deadlines approach.

Bourque suggested he refer to the Canadian Firearms Centre website to learn more.

Coun. Rew also asked about any news on reparation for the break and enter at Luke’s Diner in Delia.

Sgt. Bourque reported “I am advised that the agreement was for picnic tables to be built and donated to the Village of Delia, and the tables are complete. They are just waiting for the nicer weather to set them up. Any discussions about cash reimbursement came after the picnic table agreement during the community jucitc diversion program. And I would suggest this would be civil.”

He also shared that all supervisors have been told to remind members they notify complainants of outcomes of investigations as this builds trust in the community and encourages further reporting in the future.

Michichi land lease

Joanna Baumgartner sent in a request to the county to possibly lease or buy 4.71 acres behind the truck fill area at Michichi to be used as pasture land for two horses.

Administration shared that it would cost at least $10,000 to subdivide and sell the land making it not feasible to do, so leasing was the best option.

Council agreed to lease the property to Baumgartner with the stipulations to make sure permanent fencing was the responsibility of the leasor, only two horses were permitted, as well as only items related to the horses would be allowed on the property for a 10 year lease.

No second meeting

As with most May months, Starland will only have one council meeting scheduled on the books as seeding kicks in and some administration staff have a conference to attend.

The only meeting will be held on May 25.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.