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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Elimination of GILT grants may increase Pincher Creek property taxes

Toni Lucas

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek responded on Monday, March 29 to support a request from Sue Bohaichuk on behalf of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). This is in response to Minister Sigurdson's statement that the province does not intend to reinstate the $15 million Grant In Lieu of Taxes (GILT) for social housing units. The previous Alberta government decided to eliminate GILT across the province. Livingstone Macleod MLA Pat Stier has been asking the current government to reinstate the program. In Pincher Creek this decision affects 36 social housing units for the 2015 property tax year, resulting in $32,930.47 of tax cancellations for the Town of Pincher Creek. CAO Laurie Wilgosh told council if this funding is not reinstated municipal property taxes will have to be increased by 0.08% to cover the shortfall.




In a Wildrose party press release issued today, April 6, 2016, Livingstone Macleod MLA and Wildrose Shadow Municipal Affairs Minister Pat Stier challenged the government to restore the cancelled program,

According to the Wildrose press release, the decision to scrap the program is affecting numerous municipalities in Alberta, citing $5 million in lost revenue for Calgary, $913,000 for Lethbridge, $186,000 for Slave Lake, $75,000 for Lacombe and $50,000 for St. Paul, as well as numerous others.

“Cancelling the Grants in Lieu of Taxes Program is an irresponsible move that is forcing municipalities to consider putting a moratorium on all newly proposed applications for social and senior housing in their communities,” Stier said. “This is a core responsibility of government, and it’s irresponsible for the NDP to not pay their fair share of taxes, while raising billions of dollars in new taxes off of businesses and families.”

“It simply isn’t fair for the NDP to shirk off its responsibilities to our municipalities when they’re raising taxes on everyone else,” Stier said. “Albertans deserve a real commitment in this budget, but sadly it looks like the NDP won’t stick up for our communities.”

Pincher Creek Town Council directed administration to advertise in local media to inform the public, and to write letters to lobby the Provincial government to reinstate this program. Mayor Don Anderberg said, "I think it's important that people who make this decision understand how it impacts people, and programs."

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