POP: Property Tax Arrears
Res #: POP 4-13A
Responses Received: No
WHEREAS members of council are responsible for the financial matters and decisions that affect and govern the rural municipality; and
WHEREAS members of council must answer to ratepayers regarding the managing and budgeting of rural municipality funds within each fiscal year; and
WHEREAS members of council should set an example for ratepayers by providing prompt payments of annual property taxes and not having outstanding property tax arrears; and
WHEREAS the majority of funds attained by rural municipalities is through property taxation and collection of property taxes is vital to maintaining the rural municipality;
BE IT RESOLVED that provincial legislation be amended to require members of council and candidates nominated for office to have no property tax arrears within that rural municipality in which they seek or hold office.
Response from Honourable Jim Reiter, Minister of Government Relations
This resolution proposes to remove sitting councillors and disqualify from nomination persons who are in anears of property taxes. There are a number of issues that would need to be addressed before such a prohibition could be considered and enacted, including the definition of "arrears" used for this purpose.
The democratic process relies on voters to decide who the best candidate is. Prohibiting otherwise qualified individuals from holding office or offering themselves as candidates may present constitutional and Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues.
The ministry concurs that persons sitting on or running for council should set a good example, including paying property taxes. The ministry's view is that this issue is best left with local electors who are in the best position to decide if they want such individuals to represent them on council. Many municipalities publish information on properties that are in arrears.