Resident FAQ's

General FAQ

Further information on specific details can be found by clicking on the Related Links to the right.

Q: How much are County maps?
A: Folded maps are $15. Rolled up maps are $25. If you need a map mailed to you, fees will be $15 for a folded map and $40 for a rolled up map. Some maps can be downloaded for free from our map page.

Q: Can you tell me who owns a specific quarter of land?
A: Because of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) we can't tell you that. You can come to the County Office and look at or purchase a map to find it for yourself.

Q: I am a renter. Can I have a copy of the utility bills?
A: We can only bill the owner of the property but the owner can come in and sign an authorization form which will allow us to send the renter a copy of their monthly bills.

Q: I just moved to the county. Who do I contact to get my kids on the school bus?
A: Buffalo Trails Public School Division. They can be reached at 780-842-6144 or

Q: I want the school bus to come in my yard to pick up the kids; what needs to be done?
A: You need to contact Buffalo Trails School Division (780-842-6144) and speak with the Transportation Coordinator and they will verify if your yard is a Yard Turn Around.

Q: Do you carry maps of other counties and MDs?
A: No, we only carry our maps. Maps of other jurisdictions can be purchased from Map Town.

Q: When is the landfill open?
A: Hours and locations are on our Waste Transfer Sites page.

Q: How do I deal with wildlife and pests such as skunks, beavers, rats or magpies?
A: Contact the Agriculture department for assistance with removal or visit our Pest Control page for more information.

Q: Who do I contact when a street light is out or needs repair?

A: You can fill out the Report A Street Light Problem form on ATCO's website.  You will need the number that is located on the pole itself when reporting.

Public Works

Q: Who looks after Highway 16?
AEmcon maintains all Provincial Highways in the County. This includes Highways 16, 17, 41 & 45 and Secondary Highways 619, 631, 640, 641, 893 and 897. You can contact the Vermilion office at (780) 853-9122.

Q: Does the County offer dust control?
A: Yes. You can find more information on the Roads page.

Q: Does the County provide snowplow services for private lanes?
A: Yes. You can find more information on the Roads page.

Q: Can I get a "Children Playing" sign installed?
A: The County will not install "Children Playing" signs on County roadsides. If ratepayers wish to install signs of this nature, they must install them on their own property and not on County roadsides.

Q: Can I get a "School Bus Stop" sign installed?
A:Please contact Buffalo Trail School Division to request to have a "school bus stop" sign request.  

Q: Are farmers exempt from Road Bans during the spring road ban season?
A: No, farmers are not exempt from any road bans. In order to travel on banned roads during the spring road ban season, farmers moving grain, bales, equipment etc., must obtain an Agricultural Permit from the County office and have it displayed in their vehicle at all times during the ban.

Q: There are trees over-hanging onto the road; how do we get them removed?
A: The County will remove any trees from County roadsides that may cause a safety concern due to reduced visibility. If the trees are on private property, it will be the responsibility of the landowner to remove those trees.

Q: Does the County sell culverts (new or used)? 

A: No, the County does not sell culverts. 

Q: Why haven't I received dust control in front of my house yet? 

A: You must call our Public Works team (780.846.3309) to request dust control before June 30 of the current year. Dust control must be requested annually. 

Water & Sewer

Q:  What is the process for having water and sewer services installed? 

A:   Please contact the County Office to set up your account.  If you have any changes to your account or transfer of service, just give the office a call.  Please refer to the Water and Sewer Bylaw information for details.  We also have a Utility Payment Plan. If you would like to participate, please fill out the form: Utility Payment Plan (fillable pdf).

Q:  How do I get my water tested?

A:   You can contact the Kitscoty Health Unit at 780-846-2824 for a water test. Click here for more information on the process with Alberta Health.

Q:  Who is responsible for water and sewer problems (back ups, leaks) on my property?

A:   The County is responsible for repairs on main water and sewer lines as well as service lines up to the property line. Any cost for repairs from the property line to the home are the homeowner’s responsibility. If your sewer line is backed up, please contact a plumber. They will have the appropriate tools to determine where the line blockage/break is located. 

Q:  I will be away for an extended period of time. Can I have my water service disconnected?

A:   Please contact the County office at (780) 846-2244 and request a disconnect and date for reconnect. Please refer to the Water and Sewer bylaw for details on rates. 

Q:  I am moving into the County. How do I obtain a garbage bin?

A:  Garbage bins must be prepaid ($ 100) at the County office. Once paid, a bin will be delivered to your new home.

Q:  How is the water tested for quality and safety?

A: BACTERIA SAMPLE PROTOCOL = A water sample is collected once per week.  The sample is delivered to the Vermilion Public Health Office who in turn, forwards it to the Provincial Laboratory in Edmonton for testing. The sample is usually taken on a Monday from various locations in the distribution system and received by the Provincial Laboratory Tuesday morning. Testing requires a 24 hour period therefore, the results are usually available by the Wednesday. If there were a problem with a sample from a water treatment plant, the plant operator, an Alberta Environment office and the local Regional Health Authority would be immediately notified by the Provincial Lab.

A level of disinfection in the form of sodium hypochlorite (12% chlorine solution) is maintained in the treated water entering the distribution system. Testing is also performed at different locations in the distribution system to ensure the chlorine level is consistent with levels in the reservoir.

All wells are locked and monitored for contamination sources within the vicinity of the well head.

Please refer to the Alberta Environment link for further information.

Regulated drinking water in Alberta:

Drinking water guidelines:

Gas Utility

Q: How do I get new services installed?
A: Contact the office for ordering services 780-846-2222 or check out the New Services Brochure.

Q: What does a secondary gas service cost?
A: Please contact the Office to arrange a site visit to determine costs. 

Q: Does it cost anything to remove my primary gas service?

A: No, but there will be a charge to have it hooked up again.

Tax & Assessment

Q: How Can I Pay My Taxes?

A: Payments to the County of Vermilion River can be made via:

  1. Online banking - use the 9 digit Roll Number on your Assessment and Tax Notice as the account number.  Our payee name is County of Vermilion River- Taxes,
  2. County of Vermilion River’s website by OptionPay Credit Card,
  3. Mailing a cheque or bank draft,
  4. In-person at the County Administration Office (located at 4912 50 Avenue, Kitscoty Alberta), we accept cash, debit, cheque, or
  5. Leave a cheque in the drop off box at the front door of the County Administration Office.

Make cheques payable to the County of Vermilion River.  For after hours payments, please use our payment drop off box located at the County Administration Office in Kitscoty (no cash).  The postmark will determine date of payment.  

** If you enrolled in the Tax Installment Payment Plan, you will not need to pay the balance on your tax notice, your payments will continue to be withdrawn.

How Do I Change My Address On My Tax Notice?

By law the Assessment and Tax Notices are mailed to the address stated on the Alberta Land Title.  To change the address on your Land Title, please complete the Change of Address Form and send in to an Alberta Land Titles Office.  Alberta Land Titles will notify the County of Vermilion River of the new address.

Q: What Will Happen If I Do Not Pay My Taxes On Time?

A: Taxes not paid by the October 2, 2023 deadline will be subject to an 8% penalty.  Any outstanding taxes that are not paid by January 16, 2024 will be subject to a 12% penalty as per Tax Penalty Bylaw.

Q: What Is My Mill Rate?

A: You will have a different mill rate depending on your location within the County.  You may also have multiple mill rates if your property has more than one use.  

Q: How Are My Property Taxes Calculated?

A: Property Taxation is the process of calculating a tax by multiplying the assessment by a tax rate.  Tax rates are calculated based on the amount of property tax revenue that is required to pay for the services that are provided.

The tax rates are called Mill Rates.  This means the tax per dollar of assessed value of property.  The rate is expressed in "mills", where one "mill" is one-tenth of a cent ($0.001).

There are three separate tax rates in The County of Vermilion River:

  • Municipal - this tax rate generates the amount of annual tax revenue required to support municipal operations.
  • Education Requisition - this tax rate generates the amount of annual tax revenue required to support the annual requisition from the Provincial Government
  • Senior’s Housing Requisition – this tax rate generates the annual tax revenue required to support local assisted living facilities.

The formula for calculating the tax levy is:

Tax Levy = Property Assessment x Mill Rate ÷ 1000

Q: What Do My Property Taxes Pay For?

A: Municipal Operations is the revenue required to support municipal operations including our roads, fire protection, agriculture services, planning services, etc.

Alberta Education Requisition is the annual revenue the County of Vermilion River is required to collect on behalf of the Government of Alberta for funding of the K-12 education system.

Northern Lights Library Requisition is the annual revenue collected on behalf of the Northern Lights Library foundation to support library operations.

Senior’s Housing Requisition is the annual revenue collected on behalf of the Vermilion and District Housing Foundation.


Q: What Is A Supplementary Assessment And Tax?

A: A supplementary assessment and tax notice shows the assessed value of any new construction that has been completed or occupied during the current calendar year and was not included in your annual tax notice.

The County of Vermilion River has authorized the supplementary assessment in accordance with Section 313 of the Municipal Government Act with Bylaw 23-04.

Here is an example of a house under construction:

  1. In December 2022, the Annual Assessment Roll assigns the value of $225,000 to the land and the portion of the house already constructed.
  2. In June 2023 Annual Taxes of $1,500 are paid, based on a progressive assessment.
  3. In September 2023 the house is completed. Value assigned: $450,000.
  4. In December 2023 supplementary taxes of $500 are paid, covering one third of the year, from September to December. (For the full year it would have been $1,500).
  5. In June 2024 the Annual Taxes will be $3,000.

Q: What is Assessment?

A: The Assessment / Taxation Department establishes and maintains property assessment and tax roll information for all property in the County of Vermilion River.  The assessment function is a major element in determining the amount of municipal and education tax each property owner will pay.

Property assessment is the foundation of municipal finance.  The Municipal Government Act requires Appointed Assessors to prepare property assessments annually based on a market value standard.  The Municipal Government Act and its accompanying regulations govern property assessment and taxation.

Assessment is the process of estimating the value of property for equitable distribution within the County of Vermilion River's total property tax requirement including other requisitions such as education.  While many properties are assessed on a market value standard, there exist many other types of properties that are assessed on a regulated value standard mandated by the Provincial Government.

The entire assessment function for all properties is the responsibility of the Appointed Assessor, except for linear property and Designated Industrial Property, for which Alberta Municipal Affairs is responsible.  This includes pipelines, gas and oil wells, electric power, and telecommunication systems.

Q: What Is Market Value?

A: Market value is the price a property would likely yield if sold after adequate time and exposure on the open market by a willing seller to a willing buyer.  The Assessor finds this figure by extensively analyzing sale transactions from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022 for similar property types to determine market trends and patterns and hence uses mass appraisal techniques to finalize market values to be used for the 2023 taxation year. Your 2023 property assessment notice is based on mid-range values as of July 1, 2022 real estate market conditions and reflects the physical condition as of December 31, 2022.

Properties not assessed on a market value standard such like farmland, railway, machinery and equipment, and linear are assessed at prescribed regulated rates and standards mandated by the Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs, Minister's Guidelines of Regulated Property.

Q: What Is Mass Appraisal?

A: Mass appraisal is not a site-specific appraisal of property. It is an averaged or mid-ranged market value for similar types of properties.  Mass appraisal takes into account a greater sampling of properties with common features and characteristics to perform statistical analysis.  Common features include location, proximity to urban centers, age, parcel size, building size, quality of construction and zoning.

Q: Can My Property Assessment Increase Or Decrease From Year To Year?

A: Yes, your property assessment is based on market value that was established for July 1. Depending on the current market conditions on July 1, your assessment may increase or decrease.

In Alberta, property tax assessments are standardized and bound by rules and regulations set by the Alberta Municipal Act (AB MGA).  The value mentioned on your property tax notice is an estimated value of your property on July 2022 (valuation date) with the condition date of December 2022 (physical characteristic). 

  • MGAs. 289(2) sets out the “characteristics and physical condition” date
  • MGAs. 297 sets out the requirement to assign assessment classes to the property
  • MGAs. 293 sets out an assessor’s duty to apply the standards and procedures in a fair and equitable manner


Q: Why Is My Property Assessment Different Than My Real Estate Appraisal?

A: Private appraisers evaluate your property based on the market conditions that exist at the time of the appraisal report.  The County's property assessment calculation is based on the market conditions as of July 1, 2021 and reflects the physical condition of your property as of December 31, 2022.

Q: Who Assesses My Property?

A: The entire assessment function for all properties is the responsibility of the Appointed Assessor, except for linear property, for which Alberta Municipal Affairs is responsible.  This includes pipelines, gas and oil wells, electric power, and telecommunication systems.

Assessment services for the County of Vermilion River is provided by Tanmar Consulting Inc.  You can contact them by phone at 1-855-417-5191 or by email at

Alberta Municipal Affairs provides general information to ratepayers on the Property Assessment and Taxation website, including these guides: 

Guide to Property Assessment and Taxation in Alberta

2022 Education Property Tax Requisition Fact Sheet

Guide to Equalized Assessment

Access to Property Assessment Information

Is Your Property Assessment Fair and Accurate

Protective Services

Q: Do I still need a fire permit in the winter?

A: Yes. A burning permit is required year round.

Q: Do all fires in the County need a fire permit?

A: No. Recreational fires, burning barrel fires and incinerator fires do not need fire permits.

Q: Does the County Fire Service send a bill to property owners for firefighting?

A: Sometimes. The County will only issue a cost recovery invoice for a fire call if it is deemed that the fire is the result of negligence. This includes burning without a permit, blatant disregard for fire safety prevention, not following the conditions of a fire permit and repeated false alarms. In the event of a large loss fire the County works with insurance companies for cost recovery.

Q: Do I need fire insurance?

A: Fire insurance is often, but not always, a standard on policies. It is always advisable for property owners to check their policies and have appropriate fire & rescue coverage.

Q: What are the fines for false alarms?

A: There is no charge for the first response. If the same premises is responded to again in the calendar year then there is a $200 fine for the second response, $400 for the third response and $800 for each response after. 

Q: I got a County bylaw ticket. Now what?

A: When you've been issued a bylaw ticket, it's your decision to plead guilty or not guilty to the offence. Regardless of your plea, you must take care of your ticket on or before the date listed on the front. For more information visit our Public Safety page.

Planning & Community Services

Rural Addressing

Q: Is a Rural Address the same as a Mailing Address?

A: No, they are two different addresses.  This program will not change your Canada Post address for your mail.

Q: What is the difference between a Legal Land Location and the Rural Address?
A: The Legal Land Location identifies the property location on a specific quarter section.  The Rural Address shows the ACCESS to the property off a road allowance – this is very important for emergency services to actually get to your residence/business.

Q: Who will have access to my Rural Address?
A: CVR assigns and maintains the Rural Addresses.  They are shared with 911 and Emergency Responders.  You can provide your Rural Address to potential couriers, utility companies, visitors as you see fit etc.

Q: What should I do with the Rural Address?
A: Memorize it, Post it in your home, Educate your family members.  If you need to call 911, you will give the dispatcher your Rural Address.

Q: Is it Mandatory?
A: Yes, CVR requires all developed rural properties with an inhabited residence or business to have a Rural Address and appropriate signage. All new developments will be required to pay an appropriate fee to have a sign installed.


Q: How can I stay up to date on Safety Code Regulations & Policy changes?

A: Visit the Safety Codes Council websites

Q: When do I need a Development Permit?

A: A Development Permit may be required for a number of different things; whether you want to build a new house, change the use of an existing building, or start a home business etc., a Development Permit may be required.  To determine if your development requires a permit, please see the County’s Land Use Bylaw.  The Bylaw divides the County into several Land Use Districts (commonly called Zones or Zoning) and each of these Districts have land uses and development regulations specific to them.  Contact the County to determine what District you are in and whether your proposed development is PERMITTED or DISCRETIONARY.

PERMITTED: Development that is deemed by Council, to be appropriate for that particular District

DISCRETIONARY: Development that is up to the discretion of the Development Authority.

Q:  How do I get a development permit process started?

The process begins with a Pre-Application meeting.  This meeting with the Development Officer is essential to ensure you have filled out all necessary forms completely and have provided all required information.  A Development Permit process will not begin until you have attended a Pre-Application meeting.  You can request a meeting by contacting the County office with a minimum of two (2) days notice.   Click here to see the Development Permit Application Guide.  Filling out the application forms prior to the Pre-Application meeting may make the meeting go faster. 

Q: How much does it cost?

Fees associated with Development Permits, Subdivisions, Planning, Enforcement and Safety Codes are available in the County’s Fee Bylaw.

Q: How long does it take to get a Development Permit?

Under the Land Use Bylaw, the Development Authority has up to forty (40) days, after receiving a COMPLETE application to make a decision.  The Development Authority must also provide, within twenty (20) days, in writing to the applicant, whether the application is complete, or requires additional information.  If the application is refused, a new permit can be applied for after six (6) months.

Q: How long is a Development Permit valid for?

The proposed development must be started within twelve (12) months of the date of the Development Permit, and has to be completed within two (2) years of the date of issuance.  A one (1) year extension may be granted (upon required application and fees). 

Q: What is a Certificate of Completion and why do I need it? 

A Certificate of Completion is the final permit needed prior to an applicant “occupying” the building.  Approval of this permit is based on all the required Safety Codes permits (building, electrical, gas, plumbing & septic) having their final inspections and approvals.  These Safety Codes “Permit Services Reports” will need to be itemized on the Certificate of Completion Application Form, and attached to the application, along with the required fee.  Once all of this information is received, a Certificate of Completion will be issued, and the building will be approved to occupy.  If any Safety Codes permits are required for a development, then a Certificate of Completion will also be required.

Q: What other permits/approvals do I need?

Depending on the type of development you are proposing, several other types of permits/approvals, including but not limited to, may be required (subject to applicable fees):

  • Safety Codes Permits – the Landowner is responsible to comply with the provincial Safety Codes Act by obtaining the applicable Safety Codes Permits (building, electrical, plumbing, gas and private sewage disposal). 
  • Alberta Environment & Parks – if developing near, or impacting a waterbody
  • Alberta Transportation – if developing within a certain distance of a Provincial Highway
  • Alberta Culture & Tourism – if developing on a designated Historic Resource Value area
  • Fisheries & Oceans Canada – if impacting fish bearing waters

Q: What is a Site Development Plan?

A: Site Development Plans (SDP's) are non-statutory documents that provide specific direction on how an area is to develop, identifying the specific mix and density of land uses, utility services, as well as layout of streets, blocks and lots needed to create a well-designed and successful community, business, commercial or industrial area.

Q: What is an Area Structure Plan?

A: Area Structure Plans (ASP's) are statutory tools that provide the planning framework for the development of lands for commercial, industrial, and residential purposes.  They ensure that development is conducted in a manner that is consistent with the goals, objectives and policies of the County.  ASP's are prepared in accordance with the Municipal Government Act, Subdivision and Development Regulation, and the County's Municipal Development Plan.

Q: How do I find out more information about Off Site Levies?

A: Click here to view the frequently asked questions information sheet.


Argriculture & Environement

Q: How much does my Country Residential Agriculture Permit cost? 

A: This permit is free of charge. 

Q: Do I have to have a specific route listed to get my gravel delivered with my Country Residential Agriculture Permit? 

A: The only roads that need to be listed on your permit are the roads to get you from your home quarter to the closest highway. 

Q: How long is my permit good for? 

A: Permits are valid for the calendar year and expire on December 31.  


AAnnexation is a municipal boundary change to expand its land area for future growth opportunities.  Annexation does not change ownership rights and does not necessarily facilitate immediate development.

A: Each landowner will be affected differently.  You are encouraged to read all annexation information and contact a representative from a municipality if more information is required about your specific situation.  All annexation information is posted on this webpage.

A: Yes.  After being annexed into a different municipality, you will be required to pay their taxes.  Both municipalities will work together to assist landowners through this transition of tax rates.

A: The entire process is estimated to take approximately two years before the Municipal Government Board will render a decision on the annexation request.  The municipalities can propose an effective date; however, the Municipal Government Board will make the ultimate decision on the date.

A: Some immediate services may include street maintenance, and public infrastructure maintenance.  Water, wastewater and solid waste collection will be provided in the future when the annexed lands are developed.  Until further notice is provided, annexed landowners will still be required to haul waste to the landfill

A: Following a recommendation from the Municipal Government Board, the annexation will be approved by the Province of Alberta

A: The County will not continue to service the annexed area following the approval of the annexation – this will be the responsibility of the municipality initiating the annexation.  Section 18 of the Municipal Government Act states that “subject to this or any other Act, a municipality has the direction, control and management of all roads within the municipality” and “a municipal district also has the direction, control and management of roads and road diversions surveyed for the purpose of opening a road allowance as a diversion from the road allowance on the south or west boundary of the district although the roads or road diversions are outside the boundaries of the municipal district.”

A: Lands within the annexation area may undergo an address change.  Landowners will be notified if a proposed change to addresses is implemented. 

A: The Alberta Government decides school district boundaries.  The pre-annexation school district boundaries will remain the same until such time that the Alberta Government amends the boundaries.  Contact your local school board for more information on this matter:

          Lloydminster Public School Division    780-875-5541
          Lloydminster Catholic School Division 780-808-8585
          Buffalo Trail Public Schools               780-842-6144