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County Council Sets 2021 Tax Rate Bylaw

County of Stettler Press Release May 14, 2021 @ 10:08am published at 10:31am

Tax Notices will be mailed out in June with taxes due Friday, October 29, 2021

Council for the County of Stettler No. 6 set the Tax Rate Bylaw at the May 12, 2021 Regular

Council Meeting, holding Residential, Non-Residential and Machinery & Equipment to a

0% increase, and issuing a 2% increase in taxes to Farmland. The total funds collected from this increase, $32,529, earmarked to support Agricultural Services. A 2% increase to Farmland Taxes would equate to between $5 and $15/Quarter Section, based on the assessed value of the parcel of land.

A dire picture was predicted for the County’s 2020 finances when the province undertook a

review of how oil and gas properties were assessed, and Administration predicted a further

$2 million in unpaid oil and gas taxes.

“We were one of the first municipalities to forecast, prepare for and anticipate not only the impacts of the pandemic but also a further downturn in the economy in relation to oil and gas. Fortunately, while we predicted a $2 million shortfall due to unpaid oil and gas property taxes, the actual uncollectable turned out to be $1.5 million,” said Reeve for the County of Stettler, Larry Clarke.

County Council and administration made an unprecedented move in 2020, protesting on the

steps of Alberta’s Legislature in opposition to proposed changes to the way the province

assesses oil and gas properties. “We are fortunate that our voices were heard, and the province has ‘paused’ further changes with this review for now. The results of that review, had they gone ahead, would have been devastating to our municipality,” added Reeve Clarke.

A further combination in 2020 of cancelled or deferred projects, a reduction in services

including chemical spraying and roadside mowing, a hold on hiring summer staff due to the

pandemic, a reduction of overtime for field staff, and holding salaries, resulted in a $2.38

million surplus for the County.

“The surplus is a welcome result for our municipality following a year of stress and

uncertainty,” said CAO Yvette Cassidy. “It demonstrates prudent planning and good decision

making by this council and administration. We certainly don’t want to see a giant surplus in a

normal year, or every year, because that would mean we’re asking for more money than what

we need to operate. But with a global pandemic dramatically affecting our operations and

projects, and prudent foreshadowing by administration, I think this was a very reasonable

result,” added Cassidy.

The County of Stettler received $750,000 in stimulus funding from Alberta Transportation to replace six bridges/bridge-sized culverts, which had reached end-of life, with new bridge-sized culverts. Alberta Transportation also completed secondary highway improvements to Highway 855, which Council has lobbied for over the last 10 years. We received the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant funding of $568,608, which was used to cover unpaid taxes and upgrade municipal facilities into Covid compliance, and to purchase a generator to further prepare for Emergency Management operations to be carried out at the Public Works Facility. The County of Stettler manages the Stettler Regional Emergency Management Agency for our region. The County also received $661,625 in Federal Stimulus funding which will be used to maintain and upgrade the Fenn Road in 2021.

The $2.38 million budget surplus from 2020 has been allocated to reserves as the County

prepares to absorb a 25% reduction in Municipal Sustainable Initiative (MIS) funding over the

next two years. This MSI reduction in funding was announced by the province in 2021.

“Municipalities continue to face many challenges ahead, and we will continue to prepare and

plan for the worst, always hoping for the best, with our key concern being to maintain a

responsible budget and to provide for long term viability for our municipality,” added CAO


For more information contact:

Niki Thorsteinsson, Director of Communications


Yvette Cassidy, Chief Administrative Officer



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