County tax standoff with TransAlta continues

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Parkland County is still in the midst of a tax standoff which could cost upwards of $32 million.

For the fourth year in a row, TransAlta has filed an appeal with the Municipal Government Board onproperty taxes charged by Parkland County. The move was necessary for the electricity generation company to continue its original appeal, which began four years ago.

“Trans Alta has filed a complaint with the assessment of linear property for the 2020-21 taxation year. Parkland County will realize a significant reduction in tax revenue should this complain proceed,” said Marc Ficht, director of strategic planning for Parkland County.

According to Ficht, there was a decision at the Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench which ruled against TransAlta’s challenge that the province’s legislation was invalid. The ruling came back saying legislation was valid and must be followed. The ruling has now been sent back to the municipal government board.


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Trans Alta has filed a separate appeal for this decision.

“The ruling was in our favour, but now it’s gone back to the municipal government board and we have to wait and see how they will act because as we know, TransAlta has appealed the Court of Queen’s Bench Decision. We have to wait and see if the municipal government board will wait to see if the how the court rules on the appeal, or if they plan to act on the ruling now.,” Ficht said.

Council passed two motions as a result of Ficht’s report. The first was to act as intervenors before the Municipal Government Board in relation to the TransAlta Linear Property Assessment Complaint, and the second was to approve e funding of up to $200,000 from the Long Term Sustainability Restricted Surplus for expenditures associated with the intervenor status.

If Trans Alta were to win the appeal, it would cost the County roughly $8 million per year, or a total of around $32 million.

“We know we got that ruling back, so that is a good sign this will head toward resolution in the near future, but unfortunately we have some time to wait with the Municipal Government Board as they’re not addressing anything until the fall at the earliest,” Ficht said.

Councillors added while the tax issues continue, the County continues to view all other business they do with TransAlta in a different lens.

“We continue to have a good working relationship with them. They’re one of our property owners and we continue to separate this from all other business we do with them,” Coun. Tracey Melnyk said.

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