This is the letter I wrote for the Edgemont Community Newsletter:
2015 December 4
Re: EDGEMONT LEAF PROGRAM
As the Councillor of Ward 4, I strive to be a representative for everyone. I listen to the concerns of my residents and work hard in supporting their needs. Currently, within the community of Edgemont, there is an initiative creating two distinct view points. As such, in order to support a fair process, I want to take this opportunity to provide all Edgemont residents with as much information as possible about the process.
In 2015 a petition was circulated among Edgemont homeowners in support of a special tax (the LEAF) to be imposed under a bylaw passed pursuant to the authority of section 382 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The petition was initiated by Edgemont residents and supported by the Edgemont Community Association. The proceeds from the new tax, if implemented, would be used to provide enhanced landscape maintenance to community entranceways, boulevards, parks, and green spaces as identified by the Edgemont Community Association.
In all cases, petitioning for (or against) proposed special taxes is done by residents and property owners. The role of City staff is to simply produce the petition package and establish the wording that goes on each page of the petition. In this case, every page of the petition filed with the City clearly stated “I approve an annual special tax levy of $84 per property” and it contained the requisite 2/3 of the relevant home owners’ signatures. As such, City staff within the Roads department duly validated the petition in accordance with applicable requirements.
Notwithstanding that the City has received a valid petition in support of the LEAF, I would like to inform Edgemont residents that the City also provides residents who oppose the imposition of the LEAF an opportunity to have their voices heard. Although the process does not allow for the addition or removal of names from a petition once it is filed with the City, it does allow for residents against the LEAF to create a counter-petition. It is important to note that a petition in favour of a special tax does not automatically result in the imposition of that tax, as City Council makes that decision, whereas valid petitions opposing special taxes with 2/3 support automatically prevent Council from considering a special tax.
The 120 day appeal period, during which a petition against the Edgemont LEAF project can be filed with the City, ends on March 1st 2016. If the City does not receive of a valid petition against the LEAF, staff within the City Parks department will take this project to City Council about a month after that date. If a valid petition against the project is received, the City will not proceed with the LEAF.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.