In April 2016, Lethbridge County council passed the Community Aggregate Payment Levy Bylaw #1340. As is the case with most bylaws, it went into effect as soon as it passed third and final reading.
The levy charges $0.25 per tonne of gravel or sand transported within the county. The money will be put towards improving roads and infrastructure.
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Prior to April’s final reading, the county hosted six open houses and said it did significant advertising to inform residents and businesses of the bylaw.
However, some businesses believe that wasn’t enough.
“We knew that the county was considering it for some time, but we didn’t know they were going to implement it and retroactively ask us for that payment,” Mike Schmidtler, general manager of Lafarge Canada Southern Alberta, said.
At a special meeting Monday, council voted to change the implementation date to July 1, 2016, as requested by a number of concerned businesses.
County Reeve Lorne Hickey said everyone involved was looking for a fair compromise.
“A couple of companies had contracts made in December for delivery this year so they actually didn’t have the advantage to build [the levy] into them,” Hickey said.
“The other thing is, given the shortness of notice to them, unfortunately their representatives at the table did not pass along the information.”
Schmidtler hopes that communication between businesses and government improves.
“We don’t want to have a fight with our partners in government,” he said. “What we want to do is work collaboratively with them and roll this out in a way that is fair to customers and fair to the public.”
A letter submitted by four local businesses asks that a minimum of 12-months notice be given for any future changes to the levy.