When the province introduced its Modernized Municipal Government Act last week, the County of Grande Prairie was relieved to see the current linear tax system will be kept the way it is. Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the collection of revenue from properties with oil and gas wells and power and utility lines on them has been an ongoing issue.
“We use taxation that we actually acquire from industry to put it back into roads and bridges that industry uses. Being the municipality with the most amount of bridges in the province, we know that we’re going to be short money in the near future.”
There are 317 bridges in the County that will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. $21.2 million is in this year’s budget, and another $30 million is needed over the next five years.
The province has recommended that municipalities set up cost-sharing agreements, something Beaupre says the County has been doing for years with the City of Grande Prairie and nearby towns and villages. Some medium-sized cities like Grande Prairie had been looking for their own share of linear revenue.
“In our opinion, they weren’t recognizing the fact that we have many long-term service agreements and that counties and municipal districts were already paying for the usage of the facilities that their residents were actually using.”
Beaupre points out the County has had a Revenue Sharing Agreement with the City for the past 20 years, and paid $1.07 million last year for the use of its facilities.