Province releases new funding model for ID 349
Under new arrangement, Lac La Biche County will receive $1 million annually
Lac La Biche County is pleased to announce it now stands to receive $1 million every year as part of a new funding model for Improvement District 349, which includes the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range that was formerly part of the County’s tax base.
Back in 2011, the County entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding regarding ID 349 funding, which resulted in the bulk of that area’s tax revenues leaving this community and being directed to the City of Cold Lake. In the years since then, it has become increasingly clear that Lac La Biche County lost in that deal.
The County received land in exchange for giving up the Air Weapons Range, but the assessment growth in ID 349 has been greater than the growth seen in the area this municipality gained.
The County also gained the ability to use a split mill rate. However, recent changes to the Municipal Government Act, specifically the requirement that a municipality’s highest tax rate cannot be more than five times its lowest rate, are reducing the split mill rate’s effectiveness.
In light of these circumstances, Lac La Biche County gladly participated in consultations with the provincial government when it came time to revise ID 349’s funding model. The County proposed raising ID 349’s tax rate to boost revenues, to allow Cold Lake to keep its share while letting other municipalities share in the benefits.
“Although the provincial government did not accept our proposal, we are pleased that $1 million of tax revenue from ID 349 will be directed to us annually, and we respect the Government of Alberta’s decision in this difficult situation,” said Mayor Omer Moghrabi. “Our County is a regional service centre facing an infrastructure deficit, and the future of ID 349 funding has been a source of uncertainty up to this point. We are thankful to know we have this source of stable funding to look forward to in the years to come.”