Last week, our government was very pleased to announce the completion of the Assessment Model Review (AMR), resulting in a model that strikes a fair balance between municipalities and the oil and gas industry.
When Minister Tracy Allard was sworn into Municipal Affairs on August 25, 2020, her first decision was to hit pause on the review to do more consultations.
I fully supported this decision as I felt that the review needed a better understanding of the concerns felt in municipalities, while at the same time, we needed mechanisms in place to keep the oil and gas industry viable in our province.
The new model does just that.
After consulting with over 300 municipalities across the province, including Camrose County, Beaver County and Flagstaff County, and several industry and municipal stakeholders, a decision was made that can appeal to both sides.
To support the energy sector, no property taxes will be charged on new wells and pipelines for the first three years to foster investment for the industry. The Government of Alberta will also eliminate the well drilling equipment tax to encourage more drills in the future, contributing to job creation in our municipalities.
We will also be reducing assessments on less productive wells to reflect their value and keep the interests viable. The measures initiated through the AMR will provide some much-needed certainty to investors, municipal government, and local taxpayers.
With the AMR complete, municipalities can adjust their operating budgets to make up for the now anticipated changes to their tax revenue from the energy industry, which are much more manageable than presented in the original assessment review scenarios.
Given the difficult realities that we’re all facing right now, a compassionate and collaborative solution, like the one reached with the AMR, is exactly what Alberta needs. The resulting model shows what can happen when all sides of the debate come together, willing to cooperate and find a solution that is in the best interest of the province as a whole.
Throughout the review, I’ve been in frequent contact with Minister Allard, advocating for in-depth consideration of the needs of the municipalities in Camrose as well as our local industry partners.
Reaching such a compromise was only possible because of input and cooperation from multiple industry representatives, municipal leaders, and stakeholders, including the Rural Municipal Association, the Alberta Urban Municipal Association, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, the Canadian Energy Pipelines Association, the Canadian Property Tax Association, The Alberta Assessors Association and more.
I’m grateful to the Minister, municipalities, and industry representatives who came together to make this result possible. I also want to thank the many constituents who used their voices to ensure that their concerns were considered in the review process. Collaboration and consultation are certainly what good democracy is built on.
My colleagues and I are proud of the compromise that Minister Allard was able to strike between the two interests, and I look forward to seeing a long-term solution developed through further collaboration between these important stakeholders and our government.