The Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee is deferring a motion to cancel 2017 municipal property taxes for homes damaged or destroyed by the wildfire.
This is the second time in a month the motion has been put off.
However, since the 2017 Tax Bylaw doesn’t come into effect until this summer, Council wouldn’t be able to hear this motion until late April or early May.
“Whenever you get into a situation where it’s not exactly clear I think it’s best to defer it, kind of get a clear head on it and come back to it at a later date,” Committee Member Kim Jenkins told Mix News.
As for the motion, it’s being broken down into different areas.
The first would be to cancel municipal property taxes for homes which were destroyed or irreparably damaged and are still uninhabitable. If the home is rebuilt or the property is sold, then the owner will have to once again pay.
The second would see Mayor Melissa Blake contact the Government of Alberta and ask them to waive the education tax. This is why property owners still have to pay a portion of their taxes allowing for money to be allocated to schools across the province.
However, Jenkins says to the dismay of many residents, this should be left untouched.
“The schools are still operating and students are still going to the schools so there is no loss of utility. If our students are being educated here in Fort McMurray within our schools, then maybe we should be paying the education tax.”
The last big part of the motion would see council enact a bylaw to cancel and refund all tax penalties for these homes. These penalties came from these owners failing to pay their education tax by January 1, 2017.