Council waived the rental fees for the use of Central Park and 101 Bear Street for the Filipino Organization in the Rocky Mountains’ upcoming Philippine Independence Day celebration on June 12. Jun Cacayuran spoke to council as a delegation on behalf of the organization. This is the first time the group will be hosting this event, and council agreed to waive $644 this year.
Council approved changes to the Credit Card Payment Policy C037. The policy has been in place since 1994 and has become outdated over time. One change includes increasing the maximum payment allowed by credit cards from $200 to $5,000 for all goods and services except taxes, utilities and business license fees. Those are excluded because the Town incurs an expense of the percentage of sale on credit card payments of approximately 3%, and a large tax bill paid by card could significantly reduce the amount the Town receives.
A briefing on the results of the first year of the Banff Community Housing Strategy was presented. The most significant impact has been the acquisition of lands from Parks Canada for the development of rental housing, but progress has been made on other parts of the plan’s various recommendations. A web portal for housing information has been established at Banff.ca/housing, housing surveys have been created for landlords and home seekers, and education about housing in general continues to be a focal point.
A briefing on the 2016 Wildfire Preparedness Guide and Tactical Response Plan was presented to council. Council had approved $15,000 in 2015 to update the tactical response plan to make it more effective and include new buildings and changes to existing buildings that had been made since the plan was developed in 2008. The plan ensures the Town is well prepared to deal with a wildfire.
Council voted to amend the 2016 budget to increase non-residential tax revenue and transfer to the budget stabilization reserve $965,957 to mitigate exposure to assessment appeals filed in 2016. If those funds are not required, they will be returned in the same manner through the next tax rate bylaw following the appeal decision. The Town received eight non-residential appeals with a suggested assessment decrease of $64,482,686. The projected cost to taxpayers if all appeals were successful is approximately $815,957. Legal fees are estimated to be an additional $150,000 based on previous appeals, bringing the total impact to $965,957.
Council voted on a 4.235:1 tax rate split and gave three readings to Bylaw 240-13 – 2016 the tax rate bylaw. This split keeps the total municipal tax increase equal but passes the full impact of the additional $965,957 transfer to the budget stabilization reserve to the non-residential sector and allows the impact of the school tax increases to flow through to each respective sector. The provincial government sets the school tax rates.
Council approved the Banff Bench Program Policy C5002, replacing the Memorial/Dedication Bench Program Policy C072 with a variable rate structure for fees and charges. The updated policy confirms new bench term lengths, expands the program to include new locations and a new fee schedule.
Council approved the Green Fleet Policy C6000, which sets targets to reduce fuel consumption within the Town of Banff’s fleet. The policy provides direction to govern the use of fuel rather than focusing only on the purchase of vehicles and equipment.
Council amended the 2016 capital budget to include $30,000 to upgrade the crosswalk system at Surprise Corner to the current Town of Banff standard. The electronic systems within the crosswalk have failed and cannot be replaced or repaired due to age. The upgrade will bring the crosswalk in line with the Town’s current safety standards.
Council adopted changes to the 2016-2017 recreation facility rental fees. Some changes include a 3% increase for ice use and curling ice, and an all-inclusive summer hockey camp package for resident and non-residents. There’s also a fee schedule for youth birthday parking skating packages. Room rates have also been adjusted following a detailed analysis of other available rentals in the Bow Valley.
Council appointed Scott McElone to the Municipal Planning Commission to replace Stuart Carre, who resigned his position. McElone had been a member of the Development Appeal Board, and he will serve the remainder of the 2015-2016 term, given there are significant areas of overlap between the two committees with respect to functional knowledge and training.