Loading articles...

Rural communities say oil and gas companies need to pay their bills

Last Updated Jan 22, 2020 at 12:15 pm MST

A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Alberta's rural municipalities say the amount of unpaid property taxes they're owed by oil and gas companies has more than doubled over the past year.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Many rural municipalities say they’re not getting property taxes from oil and gas companies.

Alberta’s rural municipalities say the amount of unpaid property taxes they’re owed by oil and gas companies has more than doubled over the past year.

The association says it is owed a total of $173 million — a 114 per cent increase over last spring.

The problem, however, is trying to get the cash from those companies who are struggling to operate.

While many are calling for the province to step in, Premier Jason Kenney said these companies need to make money in order to pay their bills.

“For companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy that have no cash and very little in the way of assets, there’s not a lot to go after.”

Kenney believes once the economy improves, those companies would be able to repay their debts.

That isn’t sitting well with critics who say everyday citizens are always paying their property taxes without excuse.

One of those critics, a rural landowner with an abandoned well on his property will be joined by former Liberal leader Dr. David Swann to call on the United Conservatives to make the industry accountable for their bills.

They’re also asking the Kenney government to stop handing out tax bailouts to the industry.

The premier, however, is calling for patience from rural communities at this time.

“I would just say with the municipalities, work with us to try to create the best conditions to turn that economic situation around.”