Council makes user fee policy official
The Town of Canmore has an official user fee policy that makes administration, not council, responsible for setting recreation rates.
The new policy was approved on June 5 and as a result removes recreation user fees from the master fee schedule approved each December by council as part of the budget process.
Manager of recreation services Chris Hay said the change allows administration to be more flexible to adjust fees in alignment with market rates and cost of living.
Hay said being able to adjust those fees once a year by council motion has been cumbersome for administration.
“Especially as we try to transition towards a business approach,” he said. “We would like to be more responsive and amenable to the market.”
By removing recreation fees from the master fee schedule Hay added administration would use the approved policy and its direction to set rates.
He said that would allow better and smarter business decisions especially when setting rates for the new Elevation Place facility.
The policy is a first for Canmore, Hay said, as there is no current approved policy on how user fees and recreation rates are set.
It makes several changes to how rates are established including increasing the seniors’ age to 60 from 55 years old.
It establishes free services for seniors over 80, makes programs like Jumpstart and Kidsport eligible for subsidization through Family and Community Support Services, and increases the discount for AISH recipients to 75 per cent.
The policy sets out a cost recovery philosophy where higher revenues are collected from programs and services with a perceived higher individual benefit and lower revenues for those with a higher community benefit.
Hay said he does not expect a dramatic impact on revenues from recreation fees immediately and any major changes will be transitioned over time.
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