Lac La Biche County has had their application for specialized municipality status approved, meaning they can use different mill rates for the rural and urban parts of their jurisdiction.
The County applied for the status last year, becoming only the sixth municipality in Alberta to receive the distinction. The County uses a split mill rate, meaning the County can set different tax rates for properties in different areas. The provincial regulation allowing this distinction expired earlier this year, but the new status means that the county doesn’t need to worry about that at all.
“We’ve been operating as a specialized municipality since the split mill rate was first introduced,” said Mayor Omer Moghrabi. “Now it is official and we can operate with renewed confidence, knowing we’re in the right category and the provincial government fully understands and appreciates our unique situation.”
Recent changes in the Municipal Government Act require that all municipalities’ highest tax rates be no more than five times higher than their lowest rates. Lac La Biche County is continuing discussions with Alberta Municipal Affairs on this matter.
The status change takes effect on January 1st.