Tax Arrears Causing Problems for Wood Buffalo Council Member Colleen Tatum

Colleen Tatum has not served a full year yet as a councillor in Wood Buffalo but her tax arrears are causing problems and have some calling for her to resign from her position in accordance with Section 22(1)of the Local Authorities Election Act and Section 174(1)b of the Municipal Government Act. A person in tax arrears of more than $50 to the municipality cannot be nominated as councillor according to the Local Authorities Election Act Section 22(1). A councillor is disqualified from council if, according to the Municipal Government Act Section 174(1)b “the councillor ceases to be eligible for nomination as a candidate under the Local Authorities Election Act.” Since Tatum owed $6,700 in tax arrears to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for 2015 municipal taxes she should resign as she is no longer eligible to hold her seat on the council according to some. Tatum has refused to resign and the tax arrears have been paid.

The Wood Buffalo tax arrears caused controversy over Colleen Tatum, and she says that the arrears were simply a staff oversight so resigning is not necessary. Tatum told the media that she only recently learned that her taxes for 2015 were not paid, saying during a Today interview that “I was pretty upset. It’s certainly not a position that anyone would want to be in.” Tatum also talked about her thoughts on the matter with members of the media, stating “I don’t feel like an unintentional error warrants me resigning. I don’t feel like that’s in the best interests of the public. For us to go into a byelection, and spend all that money, on something that was an unintentional error. Council is free to do whatever they want with it. They could do nothing, they could do a resolution to send it to court, and you know I have to respect whatever decision they make. I’ve let the public know, I’ve let council know. And the chips will fall where they may.”

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