Council votes to freeze franchise fees
Airdrie Council Briefs: From the Sept. 16 meeting
Aldermen voted in opposition to the Finance Advisory Committee’s recommendation to raise the FortisAlberta franchise fee – an additional tax source for the City added to Fortis and ATCO Gas utility bills - from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
The franchise fee for both FortisAlberta and ATCO Gas will remain status quo, with Fortis holding at 10 per cent and ATCO at 29.6 per cent.
“Canadian municipalities have very few revenue sources when compared to various counterparts, but Airdrie’s taxpayers also have very few revenue sources to draw from,” said Deputy Mayor Allan Hunter.
“I want to err on the side of looking after the taxpayers’ revenue source and I can’t support this increase.”
Alderman Fred Burley countered that while franchise fees are a form of taxation, it affects everyone and not just homeowners.
“If it turns out that we can cut down our budget and this (increase) is all we need, then maybe our tax rate might be a lot lower as well,” said Burley.
“It’s a way that affects everybody equally rather than just homeowners and business owners (through property taxes).”
Voting in opposition to the increase were aldermen Murray Buchanan, Kelly Hegg, Ron Chapman, Allan Hunter; voting in favour was alderman Burley.
A new website has launched to promote healthy, active living in Airdrie. Active Airdrie Chair Darrell Belyk presented the website to council, showing off some of its features to help residents get active.
The site includes a calendar of events geared to people of all ages for activities ranging from ice skating, to soccer, to martial arts and everything in between.
“When you wanted to find out what was going on in Airdrie in terms of sports, you had to scan through multiple sites,” said Belyk.
“This website is a one-stop shop.”
Belyk requested that a link to Active Airdrie’s website be put up on the City’s website for added exposure; Alderman Fred Burley made a motion that staff pursue that avenue and council voted unanimously in favour.
The website can be found at www.activeairdrie.com
The 2013 Airdrie Regional Air Show raised more than $19,000 to be used for the startup of the 2015 air show.
Air Show Vice Chair Chris Gourley explained the show came out with a decent profit although attendance was down slightly from years previous.
“I think it can somewhat be attributed to the flooding we had in southern Alberta, but we still did great,” said Gourley.
The show netted a profit of more than $32,000 and made contributions to non-profit organizations and charities, including $5,000 to the Airdrie Lynx Air Cadets, $3,500 to the Boys and Girls Club and $4,000 to the High River Flood Relief Fund.
City staff have been at work to make crossing the street at Yankee Valley Boulevard and Chinook Winds Drive a safer venture for pedestrians.
City workers have painted “zebra markings” for pedestrians to use to cross Yankee Valley Boulevard, as well as added a lane restriction to prevent cars from changing lanes when approaching the crosswalk.
Ken Velcic from the City’s Municipal Engineering department said he expects a proposal to install a solar-powered crosswalk light at the crossing will come before council within a year.
Eco Arts Award
The Eco Arts Award finalists’ works are on display at the City’s Eastside Recycling Depot at 21 East Lake Hill NE where residents can view them and vote for their favourite.
The competition required local artists to find new ways to use recyclable materials and turn them in to pieces of art.
There were 10 submissions for the competition and three finalists remain. Airdrie Waste and Recycling Education Coordinator Paul Lyons is encouraging residents to come check out the finalists’ submissions and to cast their votes.