WHEREAS assessment of agricultural lands is currently regulated rate by the Province; and WHEREAS agricultural residences are assessed on a market value basis; and WHEREAS agricultural operators face significant operating and capital cost challenges making agricultural business highly volatile; and WHEREAS the value of linear infrastructure and related taxes are currently determined by the Province; and WHEREAS municipal districts and counties construct and maintain roadway, utilities and reconstruct bridge infrastructures for a much smaller population dispersed over a much larger geographical area; and WHEREAS residents, industry and visitors from throughout and beyond the Province of Alberta utilize rural roadways and bridges for the purposes of tourism and business travel; accessing employment and enabling logistics and transportation of goods; and WHEREAS current property taxes for rural residents are generally commensurate with the level of services they enjoy; and WHEREAS linear infrastructures sterilize and reduce the viable development of lands for agricultural, residential and industrial/commercial applications; and WHEREAS this has a direct impact on the viability of rural communities; and WHEREAS linear infrastructure taxes provide revenues for municipalities to help ensure municipalities can invest in infrastructure in support of the overall competitiveness of rural municipalities and the Province overall;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the Provincial Government to maintain policies on assessing Agricultural Lands and collecting and distributing Linear Infrastructure be maintained; and FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties advises both the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Province regarding the importance of maintaining the current approaches.
An AUMA Policy Paper (Changes to Property Assessment and Taxation) and associated resolution was submitted for consideration at the AUMA Fall Conference (September 26 – 28, 2012). Among other recommendations, the Policy Paper proposes that agricultural properties be assessed on a market value basis (buildings, structures and linear property for farming operations) and infers that the Province should revisit the collection and distribution of revenues from Linear Infrastructures.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Municipal Affairs: Municipal Affairs is undertaking a “principles-based” review of the Municipal Government Act. Any assessment and taxation concerns or issues raised will be addressed through this comprehensive and collaborative conversation with all partners and stakeholders, including municipal officials, municipal associations, private businesses and industry, agricultural stakeholders, as well as members of the public. The AAMDC is a key partner and stakeholder in this initiative. The association will have the opportunity to provide input into all assessment and taxation matters that come under review, including those related to agricultural and linear properties.
The government’s response notes its commitment to consideration of all stakeholders when it reviews the Municipal Government Act. The AAMDC will monitor the outcomes of the MGA review to ensure this resolution is met. In the meantime, the AAMDC deems this response to be Accepted in Principle.