Penalties forgiven

Town council was asked to forgive more than $5,700 of property tax penalties.

Town council was asked to forgive more than $5,700 of property tax penalties.

The requests came to council Aug. 27 with the smallest request being $2.07 for a clerical error and $4001.38 for two years of penalties to a business.

One request for $286.33 was forgiven after council read the letter from the homeowner who stated he had just bought his first home and he never received the tax notice. Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services, confirmed that with 3,500 notices being sent out there is a possibility the letter never made it. “It does happen.”

Coun. Shayne Stephen confirmed he also did not receive a notice. Coun. Rick Bonnett was in favour of forgiving the penalty as the owner had done their due diligence to try and rectify the issue once they became aware of it.

The company with the largest amount of $4,001.38 generated some discussion with council. A letter from Shawna Hainsworth on behalf of a numbered company in Rocky Mountain House, states the company bought property in town two years ago but never received notices and no taxes were paid in that time. “It was a clerical error that the taxes were overlooked. We have cleaned up all taxes owing and in the future all taxes will be paid on time.”

Bonnett suggested the company should pay the penalty of $916 from the last two years but his motion was defeated. Steffen proposed the company pay 50 per cent of the amount owing. “They’re a business. They know there’s taxes, clerical error or not.”

The motion passed unanimously.

The $2.07 request was approved but council denied a $903.24 request. There were penalties two from the same person for $178.21 that council denied. A penalty of $237.22 was forgiven as notices were sent to a mortgage company and Quinlan believes there was an error with the town updating its municipal software.