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WHEREAS a municipality’s fiscal year is based on the calendar year; and
WHEREAS a significant portion of many municipalities’ revenues are derived from linear assessment; and
WHEREAS the province does not release its adjustments to linear assessment rates until late in the calendar year when many municipalities have either completed or are near the completion of their budget deliberations; and
WHEREAS adjustments to linear assessment rates can result in significant impacts to a municipality’s fiscal capacity;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta provide municipalities with notice of any adjustments to its linear assessment modifiers well in advance of municipal budgeting processes.
In late 2015, the province released adjustments to its linear assessment modifiers for 2016, which resulted in an approximate decrease in assessments of four billion dollars across the province.
The release of this information occurred at a time when most municipalities where either finalizing or debating their next year’s budget.
These adjustments included an approximate decrease of 10% in the rates for pipelines and flowlines and wells and land.
As these adjustments will have significant impact to Sturgeon County’s and many municipalities’ fiscal capacity, notice of any adjustments needs to occur well before municipalities engage in budget planning and deliberations to allow time to respond and adjust their budget and activities based on revised revenue projections.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Municipal Affairs: Municipal Affairs (MA) has consistently given notice of changes in Assessment Year Modifiers in a timely manner. However, the ministry will provide preliminary information on them earlier where possible to best support municipal stakeholders.
Treasury Board and Finance: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance (TBF) officials have discussed this resolution with MA officials. TBF agrees with MA’s response and has no further input.
The Government of Alberta’s response indicates an understanding of the concern with the timing of assessment modifier adjustments and is willing to expedite notice of such changes when possible. However, the response gives no commitment to formally changing the provincial process for determining and communicating these adjustments. In light of the extremely late notice of the Government of Alberta’s decision to freeze 2018 assessment year modifiers, which impacted the budgeting processes of many municipalities, this resolution is assigned a status of Intent Not Met. The RMA hopes that this late notification is a one-time occurrence linked to the decision to review the modifier system, and has advocated that sufficient notice be provided in future years.