On Monday, October 19, 2020, Minister of Municipal Affairs Tracy Allard announced the Province’s decision regarding the Oil and Gas Assessment review.
Rather than implementing one of the four original recommendations proposed--any of which would have resulted in significant tax revenue loss, drastic cuts in services, and extreme tax increases in the County-- the Province has opted to provide incentives and tax breaks for industry.
For the next three years, no property taxes will be charged for petroleum producers when drilling new wells or constructing new pipelines. The Province will also be eliminating the Well Drilling Equipment Tax and lowering property assessments for less productive oil and gas wells.
In 2020, the County budgeted to receive $400,000 from the Well Drilling Equipment Tax. In past years the amount received was higher. This revenue will be lost. Assessing additional impacts on Kneehill County requires more information from the Province – specifically clarification on “less productive oil and gas wells”.
“We fully support the Oil and Gas Industry,” said Kneehill County Reeve, Jerry Wittstock. “And we’re relieved those scenarios are off the table for the time being. But the decision announced today will still have some impact on the County’s revenue, and there are a lot of unknowns at the moment.”
Kneehill County Council, along with municipalities across the Province, has been advocating against the proposed changes since the review was announced in July.
“On behalf of Council, we’d like to thank everyone who got involved-- our residents for joining us in voicing concerns to the Province, and our neighbouring municipalities for their letters of support in opposition of the proposed changes,” said Wittstock. “The level of engagement we’ve experienced with the Province on this issue is encouraging, and we look forward to continuing the discussion in the future.”