County adjusts community aggregate payment levy bylaw

Wheatland County Council has voted to adjust the community aggregate payment levy in order to be more in line with other municipalities around the province.

The bylaw was introduced, and subsequently granted all three readings at the Mar. 7 regular meeting of County Council.

Under the Municipal Government Act, Part 10, Division 7.1, municipalities have the ability to pass a community aggregate payment bylaw which requires operators to report shipments based on tonnage and pay a levy up to a regulated maximum rate of sand and gravel extracted from an area.

Currently in Alberta, the maximum levy under the Municipal Government Act is $0.40 per tonne of sand and gravel. This also applies to materials such as clay, marl, or shale excavated in the county.

Having a levy in place for the region is not new to Wheatland County, as what was formerly Bylaw 2018-05 imposed a similar levy.

The difference between the former bylaw, which has now been redacted, and the new levy, is an increase in the fee from $0.30 per tonne, to the provincial maximum of $0.40 per tonne.

“What this bylaw does is it rescinds bylaw 2018-05, which was a bylaw to impose the same type of (levy), the rate just went from $0.30 to $0.40,” said Brian Henderson, speaking on behalf of County Administration.

He also clarified to council, every year the county must file a return called the Municipal Information Return, in which, a community aggregate payment levy must be documented. “Many” municipalities within Alberta are already charging the provincial maximum for their levy.

According to information available through the Alberta Sand and Gravel Association, 40 municipalities had adopted the maximum levy by 2021.

Operators are also required to report their shipments in tonnes, accompanied with their payments on a bi-annual basis to the county, documenting their excavations and activities.

“Another change in this bylaw is the potential for signage that an operator can put up,” said Henderson.

This change notes that aggregate operators who have paid the levy and are members of the Alberta Sand and Gravel Association may request the installation of signage to promote or notify the public about specific projects or improvements funded by the levy.

All costs associated with the signage, including installation, fall to the responsibility of the aggregate operator, and must be approved by County Administration.

Henderson clarified for council upon request during the meeting that as the bylaw did not fall under municipal affairs, there was no need to schedule a public hearing, and could proceed immediately following discussion.

Bylaw 2023-04, following council’s approval during the Mar. 7, regular meeting will be made into effect and come into force as of July 1, 2023.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times