WHEREAS rural municipalities have a responsibility to provide billions of dollars in infrastructure and services to facilitate resource based industry and urban and rural residents; and
WHEREAS linear taxation is used to offset the cost of construction, rehabilitation, and repair of infrastructure, including but not limited to roads, pipes, bridges, water courses, emergency services and enforcement services; and
WHEREAS rural municipalities are known for their generosity and willingness to enter into agreements and provide funding to their urban neighbours to enhance all types of services; and
WHEREAS the contribution of rural municipalities to urban municipalities has been determined to be approximately $160,000,000 in the year 2015, alone;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties continue to request the Government of Alberta to cease any consideration to redistribute linear taxation in any form, and allow rural municipalities the opportunity to continue to build partnerships with their urban neighbours that support services for all Alberta residents.
Rural Alberta is made up of both rural and urban municipalities who have a long tradition of cooperation and support for each other. Rural Albertans recognize the need to provide joint services for the good of residents whether they live in the country or in the urban service centers. The needs for services crosses jurisdictional lines and that need has been met by thousands of service agreements between urban and rural municipalities. Health care is provided by the facilities and medical staff usually located within the urbans. Emergency service halls and equipment are usually located in the urbans. Transportation links, camping facilities, and bridges are usually located in the rurals, to name a few. There is an understanding and a desire to share services and provide funding so that the quality of life for all residents is maintained.
There is no need for the provincial government to examine linear assessment and its subsequent taxation. The potential for the loss of linear tax dollars by funneling millions of dollars into the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton is apparent. The political power that the two major cities wield will result in a major loss of income and services throughout the province, and overnight, will turn rural municipalities into have-not entities.
1-12F: Maintaining Policies on Assessing Agricultural and Linear Infrastructure
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.
DEVELOPMENTS: 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.
Municipal Affairs: In 2016, linear assessments in Alberta totaled over $76.3 billion and are expected to generate an estimated $822 million in municipal tax revenue and $238 million in education property tax for the province. Eighty-one per cent of Alberta’s linear assessment resides in rural areas, while urban centres account for 8 per cent and specialized municipalities the remaining 11 per cent.
The issue of redistributing linear taxation had been raised by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association during the review of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). Bill 21: The Modernized MGA introduced recently by the government has not proposed any changes to the MGA or regulations regarding the distribution of linear taxation.
Municipal Affairs encourages regional collaboration, including urban and rural co?operation, in sharing responsibilities and resources towards economic growth, building infrastructure and providing services to their constituents. To that end, Bill 21 requires municipalities to develop inter-municipal collaborative frameworks with their neighbouring municipalities that address regional services and the sharing of costs for those services.v
The Government of Alberta response indicates that the proposed Modernized Municipal Government Act (MMGA) does not include any changes to the distribution of municipal taxes. Under the proposed legislation, municipalities will continue to collect taxes on property types within their jurisdiction, including linear property. Any sharing of municipal tax revenues will take place through mandatory intermunicipal collaboration frameworks developed locally among neighbouring municipalities. This approach has been confirmed with the requirement for intermunicipal collaboration frameworks and intermunicipal development plans under the amended Municipal Government Act. As such, RMA assigns this resolution a status of Accepted.