Kneehill County council approved a six month payment plan for an oil and gas company’s 2021 tax bill. The decision was made at the Sept. 14 regular meeting of council.
Councillors read a memo from Caroline Siverson, property tax officer, regarding Pine Cliff Energy Ltd.’s request for a six month payment plan for their current tax bill.
“Pine Cliff Energy Ltd. has approached Kneehill County regarding a Tax Deferral Payment Agreement payment schedule for the 2021 taxes outstanding,” stated Siverson’s memo.
“They would like to enter into a six month agreement for equal monthly instalments, and not be charged any late penalties.
“In order to assist companies during this difficult economic time, council has been pro-active in utilizing the tools as allowed by the Municipal Government Act (MGA) during the last two years.
“The intent has been to minimize the delinquencies in payment of the annual taxes by providing time to pay without penalty.
“We have been very successful with collections and we have a good customer looking for a shorter pre- payment period to get through this year and then be back on schedule for 2022 taxes.
“Pine Cliff has been approved for tax deferral payment agreements for the 2019 and 2020 taxes previously. They have been an excellent customer with payments coming in on time each month. The 2020 taxes will be paid in full on Sept. 30, 2021.
“Pine Cliff expects its cash flow to increase over the coming months and have asked for a six month extension to pay the 2021 taxes with full payment made by March 31, 2022. At this time, they anticipate full payment of their 2022 by the due date of Oct. 31, 2022.
“In addition, Pine Cliff has acquired delinquent assets as well and will be paying a pro-rated 2020 levy from the acquisition date and the full 2021 levies. They are a company that is still growing and will be a benefit to the area for the years to come,” added Siverson.
A copy of Pine Cliff’s letter was given to councillors. “As you are aware, over the last several years natural gas producers have suffered through some of the lowest natural gas prices in decades,” stated the letter. “The prices recovered in late 2020 and we are now in a position to work toward having the Kneehill County municipal tax levy paid on time, in full, in 2022.”
Reeve Jerry Wittstock asked if Pine Cliff had already paid off their 2020 bill, and Siverson stated yes, their bill was scheduled to be paid off at the end of September 2021, with the new plan beginning in October.
Coun. Glen Keiver wondered if the tax deferral plan set a precedent, but did see it’s benefit. “I guess a bird in the hand is worth I don’t know how many out in the bush,” said Keiver.
The reeve agreed. “Well, it’s better than not getting paid, that’s for sure,” said Wittstock.
Siverson stated it seems payment plans have been effective in accommodating some tax bills.
“Our other clients currently on tax deferral agreements are also doing well with their monthly payments and we have been advised by some that their intention is to pay their 2021 levies by the due date this year,” she stated.
She noted that Pine Cliff’s tax plan would not have an effect on the 2021 budget.
Councillors unanimously approved Pine Cliff’s request.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review