Fees for most municipal services are going up in Banff, with recreation rates and fees for using streets and public places seeing the biggest jump.
Town officials say most fees have seen a small increase in 2011 to keep current with the inflation rate over the past two years. Fees are charged for municipal services such as transit, parking, cemetery, street use, land use, planning and recreation services.
“Due to the rounding of fees to the nearest dollar, some fees have seen an increase slightly above average or below average,” Kelly Gibson, Banff’s senior accountant, said.
“Some fees have remained identical to 2010 rates, while others fluctuated at a significantly greater rate.”
The Town of Banff completed a detailed review of municipal fees in 2008, which led to significant fee increases to the 2009 municipal fee schedule. In 2010, most fees did not go up.
As part of the 2011 fee increases, fees for the use of municipal roadways, sidewalks, and parking stalls have increased to recover the labour cost incurred in the administration and enforcement of street use.
Recreation rates are going up five per cent to reflect higher utility costs over the past two years, and as an interim measure until a detailed rate review is completed on all recreation services later this year.
In addition, administration also proposed to increase bus fares for seniors and children (aged six to 12) from $1 to $1.50. It aimed to raise about $12,000 in additional revenue based on current rider numbers.
They argued Banff has the lowest senior and child rates of the 105 Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) members. They noted the industry average is $2.04.
But Councillor Leslie Taylor was able to successfully convince most of her colleagues this was not the way to go.
She said the rates for seniors and children’s transit fees should remain at 2010 levels, saying some resorts and cities in the downtown core provide free transit.
“Those are competitors we are comparing ourselves to,” she said. “I believe transit fees are at where they should be right now and should stay.”
Gibson said the inflationary increases for most fees would lead to minor increases in municipal revenues.
He said the increase in street use fees could generate an additional $2,000 to $5,000 in revenue.
“This revenue total is dependent on construction activity in the community and can vary widely from one year to the next,” he said.
Meanwhile, a thorough review of all recreation services fees and planning fees, such as building permits, will be completed in 2011.
A report on the planning and development fees will be presented to council in the coming months and a report on the recreation fees will be brought forward sometime this summer.