Town of Bashaw council sets date for tax recovery auction

Bashaw town council set the date and time of the annual tax recovery auction. The decisions were made at the June 5 regular meeting of council.

In a phone call to the ECA Review June 12 Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller confirmed properties with unpaid tax bills are scheduled to go under the auctioneer’s gavel on Sept. 16.

“The property owner will continue to have the ability to bring their account out of recovery status by full payment right until the public auction date,” stated the agenda memo provided to councillors.

Tax recovery is a detailed process authorized by the provincial government’s Municipal Government Act (MGA), which municipalities are obligated to follow.

Property owners must be officially notified several times before the property is auctioned and it can take years to run the entire process.

As the CAO noted, property owners have right up until the minute the auction begins to clear up taxes owing.

Councillors also approved by resolution the terms and conditions of the tax recovery sale, all of which were described as ‘standard’ and are offered under the MGA.

Readers should note a reserve bid is required and is usually as close as possible to market value of a specific property; if the property sells to a new owner, only the taxes owing are kept by the municipality and the balance given to the previous property owner.

Councillors also passed resolutions to accept each of the reserve bids of seven properties slated for auction. The highest assessed value was an industrial parcel’s $842,710 while the lowest was a residential parcel’s $42,290.

Lastly, councillors passed a resolution that all costs and expenses related to the tax recovery auction be placed onto each property owner’s tax roll, meeting the MGA requirement. In this way other taxpayers don’t bear the burden for unpaid bills.

More unpaid taxes

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to write off an unpaid and uncollectable tax bill: this one from the Government of Alberta itself.

“The province used to pay the full amount of taxes on their provincially-owned buildings,” stated Fuller’s memo to councillors. “The term they use for these payments is ‘grants in place of taxes.’

“The provincial building is an example of a provincially-owned property. Twenty-eighteen was the last year they paid the ‘grant in place of taxes’ in full.

“Every year subsequently they request we invoice for the full amount and they pay a portion of it.

“Attached is the 2024 tax notice. The full balance owing is $24,268.35, the province may pay around $3,500 next March.”

Fuller confirmed to the ECA Review the Government of Alberta suggested in the past the Town of Bashaw send the property tax bill to lease-holders currently in the provincially-owned building. Apparently the building in question has also been listed as “surplus” by the provincial government.

Dugout conundrum

Fuller stated that councillors discussed a request by the Bashaw Minor Baseball Association for a grant of about $25,000 to replace baseball diamond dugouts.

A few years ago an outside organization voiced interest in replacing some of the dugouts themselves, but apparently that deal never happened.

Councillors agreed that minor ball representatives should attend a council meeting to provide more information about the request.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review