The Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee will be engaging in a review of a possible property tax break for residents.
Initially the matter was set to come before full council on Tuesday night after Councillor Keith McGrath filed a notice of motion on July 12. The councillor, who was absent from Tuesday’s meeting while travelling, retracted the motion in order to send the matter to the recovery committee.
“This is being done so we can get this right,” he said in a statement. “The intent to help our residents who need it most remains a top priority.”
He added that now the recovery committee would be able to review the proposal, which seeks to relieve property taxes based on how long residents were/will be out of their homes due to the wildfire.
“This will allow us to propose a solid recommendation to council that is rooted in what will work best for the entire community,” McGrath said.
Council has already approved a two percent reduction in the municipal tax rate across the board for all tax classes, including the oilsands.
McGrath’s proposal would cancel one-twelfth of property taxes for all residents to account for the month-long mandatory evacuation, while residents with standing homes in Abasand, Beacon Hill, and Waterways would see a one-third cancellation due to the initial expected return in September, and a seven-twelfths cancellation for all those who have lost their homes or have seen significant damage.