The Page – August 26, 2020

“Boys and girls should always date those who work at Costco. That way, if they don’t like them, they can always take them back” – Grandpa Jonesy
“I’m not past it at all. In fact, quite often when I was at the bar, I would always get admiring looks from the menfolk. If any of them asked me how old I was, I always told them 65 plus GST. That usually gets them laughing.” – Grandma Smithers

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Did you notice last week all the people complaining how hot it was?
Weren’t these the same people complaining a few weeks before how it was such a rainy summer?
So maybe they are going to be happy this week if it rains? Probably not.

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According to some reports, there is a big shortage of RV units around the country. That includes a lot of ATVs and boats. Manufacturers, from trailers and motorhomes to quads and side-by-sides are shut down or working short shifts because of the COVID pandemic.
Meanwhile, with the same fears, people are staying close to home. That meant busy campgrounds and indeed, quite a few operators are saying it’s been a good summer.
We’re predicting next year will be just as good, and probably better. People will be wanting to make use of those new toys. Northern Alberta is, of course, one of the best places to go visiting.
We’re hoping it’s a good year coming.

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The RMA [Rural Muncipalities of Alberta], which is counties and municipal districts across our province, is upset about provincial government changes to tax assessments in rural Alberta. The provincial government wants to capture some or all of the taxes paid by power lines and pipelines across the province. Behind closed doors, the idea is counties and municipal districts have too much money from these sources, and don’t spend it wisely anyway. Provincial politicians of course, are so much smarter.
One bottom line in this is a money grab to pay for existing labour agreements, and new schools and hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary and all the other “projects” city politicians say they “need” to have. Like more lanes on commuter highways in and out of Edmonton and Calgary.
We all know the drill. We were told if we want more cops, we can have all you want in northern Alberta. Just pay for them. And by the way, start paying for the ones we already have, too.
Another bottom line in this is acreages, cottages and farms will likely all see tax increases.
The per cent increase is estimated to be the amount of tax hike needed to maintain services at the same level as today. For those “arithmetically” challenged, a 200 per cent increase is a tripling of property tax; 100 per cent is doubling; 500 per cent is six times what the bill is this year. And that is all with no cost-of-living increases or all the other reasons for tax hikes every year.
Are you worried yet? Do your town and city elected folks know this is happening? What is your MLA doing?

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Speaking about MLAs, we want to know what cities like Grande Prairie, Edmonton and Calgary are doing to carry their fair share of oil problems.
Is it going to be all our counties, little towns, municipal districts and hamlets lifting the load? Are we going to be listening to Calgary mayor Nenshi whining how Calgary is already so hard done by with all their empty office towers? Or Edmonton mayor Iveson crying how they need another two lanes on the Henday ringroad?
Meanwhile, the retiring CAO at the M.D. of Lesser Slave River says it would be “political suicide” if the whole tax burden fell on existing taxpayers outside the oil companies. He suggests just about everything could soon be on the table for cuts, including salaries, contracted expenses and “even the size of council” and of course, roads.

Sky high increases

Following are a few numbers of possible tax increases passed out by the RMA. The town in brackets is the major community inside the county or MD:

Woodland County [Whitecourt] 352 per cent
Greenview [Valleyview] 649 per cent
Northern Sunrise [Peace River] 512 per cent
Opportunity [Wabasca] 2,000 per cent
Big Lakes [High Prairie] 200 per cent
Lesser Slave River [Slave Lake] 200 per cent

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