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WHEREAS section 297 of the Municipal Government Act assigns assessment classes to property, specifically 297(1)(b) class two, non-residential and section 297(1)(d) class four, machinery and equipment; AND WHEREAS section 354 sets tax rates where the tax rate set for the class referred to in section 297(1)(d) to raise revenue required in the property tax bylaw must be equal to the tax rate set for the class referred to in section 297(1)(b) to raise revenue for that purpose;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to amend the Municipal Government Act, section 297(1)(b) class two by removing linear property and creating a new assessment class five linear and in section 354 tax rates to authorize the setting of different tax rates for assessment classes section 297(1)(b) class two non-residential and section 297(1)(d) class four machinery and equipment and a new section 297 (1)(e) class five linear.
Presently, section 297 of the Municipal Government Act defines non-residential in respect of property means linear property, components of manufacturing or processing facilities that are used for the cogeneration of power or other property on which industry, commerce or another use take place . . . meaning that farm-based welding or manufacturing shops are included in the same assessment class as pipelines, oil, and gas wells, electric power and telecommunication. If one of the main premises of the provincial government is deregulation and/or consumer choice, why are municipalities not given the choice/permission to levy different tax rates on farm-based businesses as compared to linear property?
Resolution 25-02F, endorsed by delegates at the fall 2002 convention, called for similar action from the government on the same issue. The provincial government response was as follows:”The provincial government is not prepared to allow different tax rates for non-residential property, linear property and machinery and equipment at this time. However, Alberta Municipal Affairs recognizes that the rates used to assess regulated properties in the province need to be reviewed. The Ministry is updating the rates associated with regulated industrial properties (i.e. pipes, wells, etc.) to ensure all non-residential ratepayers are treated in a consistent manner.For each type of regulated industrial property, municipalities will be involved in a working group discussion process through their associations. These working group discussions are scheduled to take place during the next six months. The Ministry intends to implement the new regulated rates and depreciation standards for the 2004 tax year.”The AAMD&C has subsequently had member involvement in these assessment committees, and continues to encourage greater autonomy for local governments in managing their own financial affairs.