Council unanimously passed the Business License Bylaw 22-9 Amendment #12, which provides for a 2 per cent increase in Schedule B fees, and a 2.5 per cent increase in Class 100 (lodging sector) fees, which are set annually based on 50 per cent of the Alberta Tourism Levy for the prior year. Revenues from both are directed to destination marketing. The bylaw amendment also formalized and expanded the one-day license option for non-resident businesses.
Council also approved the Temporary Borrowing Bylaw, to cover operating expenses for the period prior to receiving revenues (property tax collection), should funds be required.
A special meeting of Council is scheduled for Monday, December 23 to give three readings to the solid waste bylaw amendment. In August 2013, the finance committee considered proposed increases in the solid waste utility of 3.9 per cent in 2014 and 5.2 per cent in 2015 for commercial accounts and 3.6 per cent in 2014 and 4.4 per cent in 2015 for residential accounts. The finance committee asked administration to bring back options to reduce the proposed increase by 25 per cent.
Council considered the options of using the utility rate stabilization reserve, reducing frequency or charging for the unwanted item pick up service, or charging residents for drop off of unwanted items at the yard, but feared any of these would mean an increase in illegal dumping instances. (Currently, residents with large, unwanted items can telephone Town operations to schedule a curbside pickup at no charge. Residents can also drop off unwanted large items at the compound yard for no charge.)
Council instead directed administration to retain the originally proposed increase in residential rates, noting that the impact is approximately $10 more in 2014 and $12 more in 2015 for the average residence. Council did opt to reduce the increase to commercial accounts by 25 per cent. Monday's special meeting is to give three readings to the bylaw amendment. Changes to the compound drop-off fees for non-residential and out-of-town deliveries will also be addressed in the meeting.
The proposed changes to parking requirements for qualified new apartment developments - called the Residential Apartment Housing Off-Street Parking & Alternative Transportation Standards Policy - is posted to banff.ca for public review and comment. Staff explained the proposed amendments that would see a reduction in the required parking stalls for certain housing types provided certain conditions are met. They referenced studies completed in similar jurisdictions and current trends to promote transit and alternative transportation modes, as well as Banff-specific trends on car ownership. Council indicated they wished to receive public feedback on the proposed changes and make a decision before the end of first quarter 2014.
Council approved a 5 per cent increase to all child and youth program fees. The rates had last been raised in 2011. They also approved an updated Administration of Employee Housing Policy, specific to town-owned staff accommodation, and received a briefing on the process for phase 2 of the recreation master plan covering recreation programming.
The lighting of the downtown skating rink was reviewed; any enhancements will be considered during capital budget deliberations and, if approved, would be in effect for the following season. Council also received a briefing on the capital asset assessment for facilities, an in-depth look at town-owned buildings and when refurbishment, upgrades and repairs will be needed.
Finally, Council received the third quarter update on capital projects. In response to a question regarding the Cave Avenue redevelopment, Council was informed that the project is in the final stages of detailed design and will be sent out to tender in February. It is anticipated that the project will be substantially complete in the fall 2014. Extensive communication of project updates with impacted residents is planned.