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HRM Council Endorses Natural Gas Tax Proposal to Speed Distribution
(Thursday, March 11, 2004)-- HRM Council today endorsed a proposal developed by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) for the taxation of natural gas distribution assets. The UNSM proposal is expected to be adopted by the Province through legislation likely introduced this spring.
"We're supportive of the UNSM proposal because of the significant economic development benefit it delivers. We recognize the business challenge of building a new natural gas distribution system and we want to ensure that Heritage Gas has the opportunity to reach as many businesses and homes in HRM and Nova Scotia as quickly as possible," said Councillor Steve Adams, Chair of the HRM Pipeline Review Committee.
Under the UNSM proposal, natural gas distribution assets would be taxed much differently than under traditional tax models. The result will be less tax revenue for municipalities than offered by traditional rate times assessment, but a boost to efforts to spread natural gas distribution to as many areas of the province as possible.
"The tax model negotiated by UNSM is an example of compromise and success. We have balanced what is best for us a individual municipalities with what is best for us all, to achieve something greater for municipalities as a whole," Councillor Adams said.
The UNSM tax model would see Heritage Gas paying municipal taxes of approximately $16.1 million across the province over the next 20 years. Heritage Gas will be paying what HRM considers a much more fair share of taxes for municipal services they consume than other energy utilities.
"Natural gas can deliver tremendous benefit to HRM. It's not only a cleaner fuel that helps the environment, it can also power economic growth throughout HRM and the province. We are committed to seeing a broader choice of energy options for our residents," Councillor Adams said.- 30 -
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