Stettler County council waives $170,000 in property tax penalties

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STETTLER – The County of Stettler council waived almost $170,000 in penalties linked to unpaid property taxes. The decisions were made during a special closed session council meeting April 20.

On the agenda of the special council meeting were five items described along with the section of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) laws which forced the items to be discussed only in closed session.

In a closed session meeting, only councillors, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy and invited guests are allowed to attend; however, no resolutions are allowed, which can only be made after the closed session reverts to an open meeting.

Councillors elected to move into closed session at 9:35 a.m. according to the minutes approved at the May 12 regular council meeting. They remained in closed session until 11:32 a.m. according to the same minutes.

The tax forgiveness motion was made by Coun. Les Stulberg “That the County of Stettler hereby enter into a formal tax repayment agreement for tax rolls 797903, 797909, 797920, 799531, 799896 and 862500, meeting the following criteria: The County of Stettler shall cancel penalties in arrears in the amount of $67,510.74 and shall cancel the February 2021 penalty in the amount of $49,937.92. 

“The County of Stettler shall waive all future interest and future penalties on the foregoing amounts provided that the ratepayer satisfies the proposed payment schedule (as follows): 

“The ratepayer shall repay the outstanding taxes in the amount of $556,600.74 with the payment schedule as follows: 

“Ratepayer would pay $10,000 by the end of April, May and June, 2021; Ratepayer would pay $15,000 per month beginning in July, 2021 with the final outstanding amounts payment in June, 2024. 

“Ratepayer would also pay tax on the current levies for the years 2021, 2022 and 2023 in the 12 monthly instalments without interest in addition to the payments set out above. 

Payments will start in the month the agreement is reached.” 

The motion passed by a 6 to 1 vote, Coun. Nibourg opposed.

The second tax forgiveness request was handled with a motion by Coun. Wayne Nixon “that the County of Stettler No. 6 council hereby enter into a formal tax repayment agreement for tax rolls 795924, 795925, 796977 and 864112, meeting the following criteria: The County of Stettler shall cancel penalties in arrears in the amount of $35,816.82 and shall cancel the February 2021 penalty in the amount of $14,792.59. 

“The County of Stettler shall waive all penalties on the foregoing amounts provided that the ratepayer satisfies the proposed payment schedule as presented. 

“The ratepayer shall repay the outstanding taxes in the amount of $121,112.76 with the payment schedule as presented, noting the 2021 taxes are estimated at this time.” 

This also passed by a 6 to 1 vote, Coun. Dave Grover opposed.

The special council meeting items were originally on the agenda of the April regular council meeting but were tabled for discussion at a later date.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review