Council gave three readings to the 2017 Temporary Borrowing Bylaw 247-11. A borrowing bylaw is passed annually by council to authorize administration to borrow funds to cover operating expenses in the time before the Town has raised budgeted revenue for the year. The maximum borrow amount is $12.3 million, calculated as approximately half the total tax levy for the year, plus half the estimated Alberta School Tax levy.
Council adopted the Body Worn Cameras Policy C8000, which will govern the use of images and cameras used by Town bylaw officers. Council had approved the purchase of body cameras for bylaw in 2015 to help officers collect better evidence and provide them with an additional element of safety. The policy details aspects such as privacy consideration, data protection, storage of media and exceptions to recording.
Travel Expenses Policy C2002 was adopted, replacing the outdated Travel Guidelines Policy C048. This policy establishes guidelines for expenditures for employees and council members travelling on Town business.
Council received an update on the status of capital projects in the fourth quarter of 2016. A total of $23.6 million in capital project funding has been approved by council in a total of 77 ongoing projects. Ninety per cent are on budget and 98% are within $5,000 of their budget. A list of project updates can be seen at banff.ca/majorprojects.
Council approved several amendments to Policy C122, which allows for the reduction of required off-street parking for residential apartment housing based on a number of site specific requirements. Council had debated the wording of the bylaw at their previous meeting, and approved the amended policy today. The original policy was drafted to reflect current and emerging trends in the amount of parking provided for new apartment developments. Research and a review of other studies has consistently shown that compact communities, increased residential density with strong transit and sustainable transportation choices, reduces personal vehicle ownership rates and the travel behaviour of residents. Ensuring the parking requirements match actual demand can also help reduce unnecessary housing development costs. Policy C122 is a guiding document for how and when the Municipal Planning Commission should grant a variance to required parking for apartment housing. In addition to wording updates, the amended policy also includes maps showing the location of qualifying properties.
Council repealed Policy C015 – Refunds – Community Classes. Administration has been reviewing existing policies, and recommended that procedures related to issuing refunds are best approached through an administrative policy rather than a council policy.
Council voted to refund $968,252 collected for the 2016 assessment appeal contingency fund. When the 2016 tax rates were set by council in May, there were eight assessment appeals on non-residential properties with a total appealed assessment of $64,482,686. Council added 0.9668 to the non-residential tax mill rate in order to collect funds to offset any losses related to the outstanding appeals. In the end, all eight appeals were withdrawn prior to going before the assessment review board. Through consultation with the Town’s assessor, the assessed value of four of the eight properties was partially reduced resulting in a net decrease to tax revenue of $47,018. Cheques will be produced and distributed prior to the end of the fiscal year and a letter will be sent to property owners explaining the refund.
Council passed three bylaws to designate the Bow River Bridge, Banff Power Substation and Old Banff Cemetery as Municipal Historic Resources. Properties whose preservation is considered to be in the public interest can apply for historic resource designation. Council also approved funding along with the designations. A one-time matching restoration/rehabilitation grant for $50,000 was approved to contribute to the restoration of the Bow River Bridge, a one-time $15,000 grant was approved to develop an architectural conservation plan for the Banff Power Substation, and a one-time $15,000 grant was approved for a landscaping plan for the Old Banff Cemetery.