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Alberta Court of Appeal upholds controversial Lethbridge County business tax

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Lethbridge County on a controversial business tax.

In a 2-1 decision, the court found the county has the authority to implement the levy, which the municipality said is going towards road improvements.

READ MORE: Controversial feedlot tax still making waves in southern Alberta

“The county is pleased with the decision as it will allow council and administration to continue improving our essential infrastructure for our citizens and business owners,” read a statement from Lethbridge County.

“We continue to face a lack of provincial and federal funding for road and bridge projects and the business tax allows the county to raise the revenues needed for the Market Access Network to ensure it is safe and reliable for all road users.”

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The tax was put in place in 2016 but was challenged by a number of farming and cattle-feeding businesses.

A 2017 report from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association found the tax could increase fixed costs to cattle feeding operations by almost 20 per cent per head.

READ MORE: Group of feedlot operators suing Lethbridge County over animal tax

Global News reached out to all of the businesses involved, but all of the owners were unavailable or unwilling to comment.

The split decision means the group of businesses can take its case to the Supreme Court of Canada if it would like to appeal the decision.