The update was provided by administration as part of the recently passed projects budget. The environmental scan report outlines trends for linear, residential, non-residential, and machinery and equipment (M&E).
“The overall economy in the region is improving but at a slow pace,” the report states. “The province is seeking marginal wage growth and employment rates are better but are still not the norms of recent past.”
“Factors to be included in an environmental scan include both external and internal to the county. Unfortunately, most of the factors reviewed indicate that there is potential for revenue loss and increased cost for the county in the future.”
Regarding linear assessment (for things such as pipelines), the report states, in part, that, “The oil and gas industry is currently experiencing a prolonged slowdown. In forecasting, for the 2018 taxation year it is believed that the moderate loss due to growth will continue and this will be a long-term trend. The oilfields in the county are mature with the average active well having been drilled in August 1998.”
Regarding residential assessment, the report states, in part, that, “residential assessment has been trending upward for the last five years. However, this year is expected that the total assessment (will) fall by two per cent.
“That is expected to be caused mostly by inflation factors where houses and land are selling for less than their previous assessments and there is little growth to offset this loss.”
Regarding non-residential assessment, the report states, in part, that, “Taking into consideration the overall economic conditions, it is not anticipated to see favourable growth.
“Additionally, based on early reviews of our tax collection efforts this is the sector of the tax base that is experiencing troubles.”
Regarding machinery and equipment assessment, the report states, in part, that, “M&E has been trending downward for the last five years, averaging a loss of approximately two and a half per cent.
“This trend is expected to continue as the oil and gas industry was over 60 per cent of the total assessment for 2017 and it is anticipated that no material investments were made in the county that would affect 2018 figures.”
Regarding other assessment categories, the report states that “it is not anticipated to have any material changes in categories of farmland, co-generation, railroad, cable and powerlines.”
In 2018, revenue changes projected include an increase in linear of $600,000 (with large inflation increases expected), a decrease in residential of $130,000, a decrease in machine and equipment of $120,000, and a mill rate increase of two per cent for $580,000.
Expense changes projected include $700,000 to supply gravel to the east part of the county, $200,000 for the re-gravelling program, a $745,000 decrease in re-chipping, $170,000 for proposed RCMP enhanced policing, and $550,000 for recreation funding.