Compassion clause to be drafted

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Airdrie City Council unanimously approved a motion at its Jan. 16 regular meeting to direct staff to draft a compassion exception clause to potentially be added to the City’s tax bylaw.

“One of the reasons I believe our community stands out above and beyond other communities is the will of the people to act compassionately and show good will, whenever opportunity presents itself,” Coun. Al Jones said. “I’d really like to see staff explore the possibility of drafting a compassionate exception clause to amend the existing property tax bylaw.”

The issue of a compassion clause was first raised after the previous council denied a request from a family to have the fines waived that were due on their mother’s property after her passing in June 2017.

Jones suggested a couple of possible amendments dealing specifically with a situation where the taxpayer passes away. First, when someone dies within 21 days prior to the tax deadline, the family or executor would have 30 days to produce a death certificate and apply to have any late payment fines and interest waived. Second, the executor of the estate would then have up to 90 days to make payment with no interest or fines added.

Others on council questioned whether these amendments would be too specific.

“I would be supportive of having staff bring back what that policy might look like so that we can review it,” Deputy Mayor Candice Kolson said. “I think that the motion should be to direct (staff) to bring back more detail about what our policy would look like. My only concern is that it’s very specific.”

The motion was made to direct staff to draft a policy for council’s review, with the understanding it is only a draft and can be revised.

Council unanimously approved a bylaw to allow for the rezoning of 22.71 acres in Bayview/Bayside Phase 1. The owner of the land, Genesis Land Development Corp., made the request in order to provide a greater diversity of residential options and increase the size of the community park. According to City planner Robyn Rechenmacher, the request was also made to ensure the area complies with the recently approved West Airdrie Community Area Structure Plan (CASP) and Bayview/Bayside Stage 3 Neighbourhood Structure Plan.

Council unanimously approved a request from the Creative Airdrie Society to proclaim Jan. 27 as Arts Celebration and Recognition Day in Airdrie. A request to light up City Hall in emerald green Jan. 26 and 27 was also approved to showcase the Mayor’s Night of Arts Jan. 27.

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