The RMWB will continue to get ample time to adjust to the looming 5:1 tax ratio.
That message from Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs, who spoke at the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce’s Luncheon on Thursday.
Anderson told reporters the provincial government has no plans to exempt the region from the new ratio – a part of the amended Municipal Government Act.
“The grandfather was something said a few years back by another Minister but it was never a part of the equation, so it is a timeframe and a gradual transition, that’s what we’re looking at.”
This comes just a few days after Councillor Jeff Peddle brought forward a notice of motion to ask the province to remove the region from the tax ratio.
The province is more than willing to give the region the time it needs to fully adjust.
Anderson says they would be okay with following the proposed 10-year-transition plan if Wood Buffalo council decides that’s the timeline the region needs.
“If they stay with 10 years, then they stay with 10 years – we have no issues with it. But if they change, we’ll have to look at it at that time.”
The municipality continues to reduce their tax rate from the previous 18.3: 1. If council approves their annual tax rate bylaw, it would be lowered to 14.3: 1 for 2018.
Meanwhile, Anderson added the province doesn’t have a stance when it comes to fly-in-fly-out.
“I understand what’s going on with [FIFO] and it’s really helped this province, we wouldn’t be where we are without it but with that being said I’ve talked to [the Oil Sands Community Alliance] and the RMWB, they have been in communication, they have a good relationship and they’re going to sit down and work through it.”
He notes FIFO is a municipal issue and should be dealt with by the RMWB and Industry.