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Ward 11 - Jeromy Farkas

Ask Jeromy: January 2020 Questions

 
Ask Jeromy: January 2020 Questions
 
Ask Jeromy
What Jeromy likes the most about serving on council is hearing from citizens. Below are the top five questions/themes/topics we heard from you during the month of January.
 
While Jeromy does his best to answer each constituent question individually, below are what we thought you wanted answers on the most.
 
 
Are transition payments for City Council elected officials coming to an end?
 
I am disappointed to report that the majority of City Council did not support my efforts to bring this matter back for debate.
 
Elected officials are entitled to two weeks of pay for each year served on City Council. This amount is paid to all departing officials, regardless if they retire, lose an election or move on to another level of office. For context, in the next election the average payout will be nearly $50,000 per outgoing official.
 
A citizen-led committee advised Council to scrap this entitlement nearly three years ago. The provincial legislature did away with it in 2012.
How can we justify this continues in the face of such a beleaguered private sector and when businesses are shuttering at such an alarming rate?
 
It remains to be seen what recommendations the current Council Remuneration Committee will put forth, ahead of the 2021 election.
While Council put the brakes on my efforts to end this unparalleled entitlement, I promise you that this is not over yet.
Calgarians are demanding fairness. This scenario clearly shows a disconnect between City Council and the average taxpayer.
 
All I can promise you here is that regardless of how this eventually pays out, I have personally declined my transition allowance.
Click HERE to read Peter Bowal’s column in the Calgary Herald, revealing his disgust at Council’s disregard for the will of its own electorate. Bowall was the chair of the 2017 Council Remuneration Council.
 
A Herald poll also revealed that 78% of participants are in favour of scrapping the transition allowance.
 
 
Are the mysterious retirement bonuses for City retirees really over?
 
Council closed 2019 with a vote to end the retirement bonuses by the end of 2021.
 
These mysterious “bye-bye bucks” have been paid to most retiring City staff since 1964. While it’s not penned into most contracts (except Calgary Fire Services), retirees have been receiving on average over $10,000 unbeknownst to Council.
 
Rick Bell, Calgary Sun columnist, cited the City’s retirement bonus debacle as one of the most ludicrous he has witnessed in decades spent covering Calgary City Hall and I agree.
 
The Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation have estimated the cost to be around $4M annually to taxpayers. This is on top of pensions and is an accrued liability costing around $7M per year.
 
I will continue to advocate for measures of accountability and transparency throughout this year and beyond.
 
 
What do we do about the transit impacts since the MAX Yellow started running?
 
I understand that timely and efficient transit is very important to those who rely on it, including those who commute to work, seniors, youth and people with disabilities.
 
My office is receiving a considerable amount of feedback regarding impacts to the SW transit routes since the MAX Yellow has come online last month. This includes possible service gaps, as well as concerns about MAX ridership.
 
I would encourage those of you with concerns to contact your local Community Association, as well as the Ward 11 office. We are liaising with the City Transit team so they can compile data and review the feedback. This feedback will determine how I advocate on your behalf for potential changes in the months to come. Please visit http://www.calgarytransit.com/news/2020-transit-network to check out the impacts to routes spanning Ward 11 and the city in general.
 
 
How do I find out about City snow removal and street sweeping in my community?
 
Snow route parking bans typically begin 24 hours after a snowfall ends and last for up to 72 hours or until the City declares the ban is no longer. Avoid the $120 ticket and towing costs by knowing whether you are parking on a snow route.
 
To avoid any confusion and to make sure you’re not missing those blue street signs with the snowflake, I would encourage you to check out the Snow Route Map , as well as visit calgary.ca/Roads or click HERE to sign up for alerts. 
 
Our office also hears about your concerns regarding street sweeping. I encourage you to visit calgary.ca/sweep and sign up for street sweeping alerts to avoid missing signage.
 
 
What can we expect from you in this first quarter of 2020?
 
As always, I value your feedback and ideas.
 
While I continue to advocate for measures of accountability and transparency, advocacy for non-essential spending cuts at City Hall and fighting for the little things that make our communities the best places to live – I want to know what you want from me.
 
At this time we are getting a lot of feedback expressing concerns for the Guidebook for Great Communities document that will before Committee on March 4 and Council April 27. This overarching planning document is changing how the city plans and builds out communities. Concerns seem to be centered on potential changes to RC-1 zoning.
 
I will discuss this with Community Association presidents ahead of our Town Hall on Feb. 20 at the Palliser Bayview Pumphill Community Association.
In the meantime, please contact the Guidebook team with your questions/concerns: lisa.kahn@calgary.ca or 403-268-1456.
Reach out to me and my team anytime at ward11@calgary.ca or 403-268-2476.



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.
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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.