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Councillor Tatum won’t resign after tax debacle

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Councillor Tatum won't resign after tax debacle

Councillor Colleen Tatum says she isn’t resigning after a personal tax snafu that came to light this week.

The Ward 1 councillor said in a statement that she failed to pay her taxes for 2015, which totaled $6,700, due to an administrative “oversight.”

In an interview with Mix News, she said one of her staff usually takes care of the payment and that didn’t happen.

“It definitely won’t be happening again,” she said.

Tatum says she made her council colleagues aware of the situation in the interest of transparency. The revelation raised questions about her abilities to sit on council. The Local Authorities Election Act states in Section 22.1 c that a person is not eligible to be nominated if “the person is indebted to the municipality… in default exceeding $50.” The Municipal Governance Act adds that any councillor found in violation of the LAEA is disqualified from sitting on council, and must resign.

However Tatum says she won’t be resigning because she doesn’t believe it to be in the best public interest. Council will now have to decide whether or not to file a court application to have a judge rule on the matter. Council does not have the power to remove a councillor.

Tatum added in her statement that she will “respect any decision council makes and accept it,” but pointed to similar situations in Red Deer where councillors were allowed to continue their duties.

 

 

 

Full Statement:

Recently it has come to my attention that there was an inadvertent non payment of my municipal taxes of approximately $6700 for 2015.

This was an administrative oversight and I have remedied it.

I also to be as transparent as possible brought it  to the attention of my council colleagues.

I understand that under the municipal government act, a councillor must resign in the circumstances, or a council can bring a court application.

Council does not have authority to remove a council member.

At this point I don’t think its in the publics best interest for me to resign.

Similar situations have occurred recently in Red Deer. In that case council chose not to make a court application and instead imposed a sanction on the member.

I respect any decision council makes and am prepared to accept it.

I apologize for the inadvertent and have take actions to prevent this in the future.

“It was an inadvertent error, I have remedied it and taken actions to prevent it in the future. There was a similar situation in Red deer recently, and council chose to impose a sanction on the member.”  Stated Colleen Tatum

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