Alberta cuts deal on municipal oilpatch levies; not on unpaid property taxes


EDMONTON — Alberta has announced a three-year deal that it says will prevent municipal taxes and levies from harming its already battered energy industry. 

But the deal leaves unresolved the issue of rural property taxes that some companies have refused to pay — taxes that totalled $173 million by last January.

Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard says the industry will get a three-year break on property taxes for new wells, pipelines and new equipment.

The province will also lower assessments for less productive oil and gas wells and keep in place the assessments it recently lowered for shallow gas wells. 

The government did not release a price tag for the tax breaks, but a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said they could save industry more than $80 million.

Al Kemmere of Rural Municipalities Alberta says his group has received no assurances that outstanding tax bills will be paid or that the new lowered rates will be honoured. 

Still, he called the stopgap measures an effort to achieve a fair balance between the needs of members an industry struggling to survive. 

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