County out $1 million from company bankruptcy

The price that Ponoka County paid as a creditor of a bankrupt energy company is high.

Ponoka County may have a way to deal with the tires at the former Cutting Edge tire recycling site just north of Ponoka

The price that Ponoka County paid as a creditor of a bankrupt energy company is high.

At its regular council meeting on Oct. 25, administration informed council that the county will have to eat $1 million in uncollected taxes and penalties owed by the now defunct Waldren Energy.

CAO Charlie Cutforth explained that the sale of what was left of Waldren has been conditionally approved by an Alberta court judge for what amounts to zero dollars and that due to the company having no liquid assets mostly pipeline infrastructure administration has no legal way to collect the more than $800,000 in taxes and another $200,000 in penalties that were owed.

“As a council, you could place an objection with the court regarding the sale. However, even if you do, the court could simply overturn that and proceed with the sale anyway,” Cutforth stated.

He added that it has take close to two years for someone to come along wanting to buy Waldren and this is likely the best opportunity for a sale with the chance for the county to receive tax revenue from the new company in the future.

Cutforth then recommended that council approve a motion stating it will not object to the sale as well as pass another motion that would cancel the taxes and penalties owing.

“If this sale doesn’t proceed, then it’s likely there will never be a sale and we won’t get any taxes ever,” he stated.

Council, minus Coun. Nancy Hartford who was out of the country, passed both motions with Reeve Paul McLauchlin stating, “At the end of the day, it’s good advice to take.”

However, Coun. Bryce Liddle had some reservation about the county taking the full hit, wondering if it could hold back the school tax portion. That idea, however, won’t fly as Cutforth explained that money is automatically taken by the province and its up to municipalities to collect it. He added there is a lobby effort underway to change that, but it has so far fallen upon deaf ears.

“We knew this was coming and we’ve never experienced anything like this before,”added Cutforth, noting the setback the county will take is minimal when compared to its budget and will be nearly covered by the reserve set aside for this kind of loss.

However, Cutforth did state there could be more coming down the road as the county derives 73 per cent of its tax revenue from oil and gas companies.

Other business

Third and final reading of a rezoning bylaw was approved by council for a property that has twice before attempted to have an application approved.

A 20-acre parcel of the 80-acre property, located along Range Road 252 about one mile north of the county line, will now be zoned country residential hobby farm. Council decided that many of the area properties already have subdivisions.

Council let down the representatives of the Rimbey Kinsmen, who petitioned the county for assistance in paying down a portion of the $250,000 loan they must pay for the new skate park that was built.

Kinsmen members explained that all of the oil and gas corporate donations dried up due to the lagging economy and they were bringing the situation to the county’s attention, in hopes they would be able to help them.

However, Coun. Doug Weir explained the county isn’t in a position to assist until the group can demonstrate it has other funding sources available. Only then, said Weir, will the county look at providing some sort of top up to those financial commitments.

Lastly, council was told there could soon be a solution to the tire recycling problem at the former Cutting Edge site. A company expressed interest in taking all of the tires, even the large ones, to use in its asphalt processing system.

Cutforth said he is cautiously optimistic about a possible solution, though staff are presently still working with their lawyer to chase down and serve the former owners with a notice of intent and also trying to connect with the tire recycling authority.

 

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read