Bashaw town council waived almost $800 in penalties for a property owner who missed the July 31 tax deadline.
The decision was made at the Oct. 7 regular meeting of council.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated the property owner, who was not named at the meeting, sent a letter asking council to forgive the $782.89 in penalties by noting he had just purchased the business in question.
“...we took...over July long weekend, 2021,” stated the property owner’s letter to council. “During this month we were trying to get our new business organized including paying new bills and setting up new accounts. The Town of Bashaw being one of those accounts.
“My wife went to the town office...mid-July to figure out our new property taxes and utilities within the town.
“To my understanding, the town needed a land title in our name to proceed with putting it all forward.
“Now, fast-forwarding past July 31 we received a letter in the mail saying that we hand’t paid our property taxes for the meat shop in 2021 and that a 12 per cent or $782.89 penalty was added to our notice,” stated the property owner.
Fuller noted in her report the property owner came in before the tax deadline to talk about utilities for tax roll 000708 but didn’t pay the tax bill.
“Administration acknowledges the owner came into the office prior to the payment deadline of July 31,” stated Fuller.
“They came in requesting to change the utility account into their name. They were informed the utilities are changed once the title transfer has been received.
“The business owner requested to pay their taxes and then realized they did not have their cheque book with them. They indicated plans to return with their cheque book and provide payment,” noted the CAO, who added that the property owner never returned.
Once the deadline was missed and the penalty applied, the property owner contacted town staff and requested the penalty be removed. Fuller told them town staff don’t have the authority to waive penalties and only town council can do that.
The property owner’s letter noted they had paid the entire tax bill of $6,524.08 and would like the almost $800 in penalties waived.
“I would like to maintain a strong relationship within the community while we change over to our new business and hopefully solve this issue the correct way,” stated the property owner.
Coun. Rosella Peterman stated normally she wouldn’t consider waiving property tax penalties but she recognized this situation involved brand new business owners who may have made an honest mistake.
Coun. Rob McDonald agreed, adding that it didn’t appear the property owner was lax but rather the situation was caused by an oversight.
Both Mayor Penny Shantz and Coun. Darren Pearson both said they were fine with waiving the penalties.
Councillors unanimously passed a resolution forgiving the tax penalties mentioned above for tax roll 000708.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review