Parkland County Has Major Budget Concerns

Millions on the line due to coal phase out; Balancing Pool recommendation.

In a release earlier this week, Parkland County stated millions of dollars stood to be lost should a recommendation by the Balancing Pool to terminate three power purchase agreements move ahead.

The PPA's identified by the Balancing Pool, a public enterprise established by the provincial government to manage the deregulation of electricity, are Sundance A, B and C.  The move would potentially cost Parkland County up to $40 million dollars while TransAlta would be compensated $170 million dollars.

"“We cannot continue to have a crisis every week in the power generation markets. It is now significantly impacting communities and local governments," says county Chief Administrative Officer Mike Heck.  

With the potential of lost revenue, Mayor Rod Shaigec notes the money will have to be replaced somehow.

"There's going to be very difficult and challenging decisions for future councils to make," Mayor Shaigec tells One News.  "After the election, we're going to have to deliberate where we'll make up that shortfall."

The county was notified of the Balancing Pool's recommendation on July 4th and had until July 20th to provide input, which Mayor Shaigec confirms to have occurred but is unable to elaborate fully at this time.

"The only comment I'll make regarding that is we requested the province take a little more time and consideration into cancelling these [PPA's]," says Mayor Shaigec.  "It is going to come at a significant cost to Albertans and the taxpayers."

In recent months, the county has met with both Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous and Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson to discuss their concerns with another meeting with the provincial government scheduled for this fall.

-TS

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