Linear Assessment Review

The Government of Alberta is proposing a new method of assessing oil and gas industries – a model that could reduce the County’s annual revenue from oil and gas property taxes up to 21% (based on 2019 data). This could result in tax increases for Yellowhead County residents and businesses.

Background
The Government of Alberta has been meeting with oil & gas industry representatives along with other stakeholders in closed meetings since 2019. The Government has released four scenarios to adjust the way in which oil and gas properties are assessed, all of which result in a dramatic reduction in the County’s non-residential assessment base.

According to the Government of Alberta, the review was intended to ‘modernize’ the assessment model for oil and gas properties to enhance industry competitiveness while ensuring municipal viability.

Concerns
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) who have been representing rural municipalities such as Yellowhead County during this review, is extremely concerned that the review outcomes will achieve neither of the above intents.

In response, RMA issued an Outcomes Summary and a Position Statement.  They have also provided a prediction of the impact that each scenario will have on Yellowhead County. 

Our other concern is the process of this review, specifically the:

  1. Lack of transparency during the meetings leading up to this announcement,
  2. Short timeline before the decision is to be made by the province, and
  3. Lack of communications from the Government of Alberta and the non-existence of public engagement with Alberta citizens that should be coordinated by the province.

Yellowhead County is gravely concerned with the changes proposed to the assessment of oil and gas properties.  The County could lose up to 21% of its property tax revenue which could translate into the significant loss of services and projects.

Impacts
Unfortunately, this process will result in significant loss of revenue for Yellowhead County and the tax burden will simply be shifted away from the oil and gas industry and on to all other businesses and residents.

Read the RMA’s Impacts Report and the RMA’s Letter to Yellowhead County.

Based on the various potential changes presented by the province, Yellowhead County would be required to:

  1. increase the residential tax rate by between 16.3% and 350%, or
  2. the non-residential tax rate by between 1.3% and 36.5%.

In reality, Yellowhead County may be forced to enact a combination of both changes, as well as reduce service levels and inter-municipal collaboration agreements to remain viable.  These changes will impact not only our municipality and the services Yellowhead County provides (including funding for libraries, community non-profit organizations, etc.) to residents and businesses but the entire region. It may also have an impact on school taxes and senior housing foundations.

Next Steps
The Provincial Government is accepting input on the proposed assessment models from municipalities and other interested stakeholders within the next 30 days.

Yellowhead County Council is reaching out to the local MLAs and Ministers’ offices, requesting that they reconsider the proposed assessment changes and timeline process. 

You are encouraged to lend your voice to this matter:
Yellowhead County is encouraging all residents and stakeholders to review all the information related to this Assessment Review and to contact your local MLA and Minister’s offices to voice any concerns and questions you may have.

A letter template to your local MLAs and Ministers to voice your concerns can be found here 

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or for further details or clarification on this matter.