Below is the MD of Ranchlands response to the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass on the issue of annexation.
Below that response is my opinion of what they are saying.
M.D. of Ranchland responds to Annexation Proposal
M.D. of Ranchland Open letter to the Community
On March 22, 2013, the Council of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass (MCP) approached the M.D. of Ranchland with a proposal for MCP to annex all that portion of Ranchland that lies to the south and west of the Oldman River. Such an annexation would result in the loss of one-third of the M.D. of Ranchland.
The catalyst for this annexation proposal is the renewed interest in coal deposits stretching from the Grassy Mountain area by Riversdale Resources, and up the Forestry Trunk Road by Elan Coal Ltd. The type of mining involved is large scale, open-pit mining for metallurgical coal destined for the Asian market.
If such an annexation were to occur, the MCP is also requiring that Ranchland transfer $200,000 per year for five years to the MCP to cover the cost of servicing the proposed annexation area prior to any new potential tax revenue being realized. The MCP proposes that Ranchland raise its mill rate on linear, commercial, and machinery & equipment to pay for this transfer of funds. In other words, tax the Ranchland ratepayers to subsidise the MCP.
It is the considered opinion of the M.D. of Ranchland Council that this annexation should not proceed. We believe that our first duty is to act in the best interest of all the taxpayers in our Municipal District whether residential, farmland, commercial or industrial. This proposal does not fit within our mandate as a responsible Council.
Mining in the area is currently in an exploratory phase. Mineral rights are bought and sold frequently. Proposed resource developments do not always come to fruition. It is a complex process to prove reserves, find capital, confirm contracts with customers, obtain regulatory approval and construct the facility. If a mine does not come to fruition that would leave MCP in a dire situation as the annexed area would become a revenue drain as tax revenue for the area will not cover the cost of servicing.
If any proposed coal mining venture does proceed then, as the immediate service center, not only will such economic development benefit the MCP, but Ranchland would be open to discuss revenue sharing with neighbouring communities, including the MCP, to ensure that all benefit.
My opinion: The Crowsnest Pass made a request for one third of the MD in addition they requested that the MD provide $200,000 a year for five years to service that land. CNP proposes that the MD raise their tax rates to cover this cost. I wonder how our residents would feel about us paying more taxes to enable a neighbour to take away one third of our municipality. They mention this interest coming about due to Riversdale and Elan Coal looking at coal deposits, Elan as been sniffing around for at least three to four years anybody hear of them?
The second to last paragraph makes a lot of sense they are telling us to consider that it takes a long time to bring a mine to fruition, not the two to three years that some people have been trying to sell around here. At the end of the letter they talk about being open to discussing revenue sharing down the road with the neighbour communities, very smart on their part remember in my previous post I stated the letter would be written for both the benefit of the local residents and municipal affairs in Edmonton