This is the letter I wrote for the Edgemont Community Newsletter:
“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 correct information as possible.
In 2015 a petition was circulated among Edgemont homeowners in support of a special tax (the LEAF) to be imposed by a bylaw passed pursuant to the authority of subsection 382(1)(c) of the Municipal Government Act (MGA). The petition was initiated by Edgemont residents, and supported by the Edgemont Community Association, with the hopes that proceeds from the new tax 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 local improvements or special taxes, is done by residents and property owners and 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 the City has determined the wording on the LEAF petition is clear and unambiguous and was included on every page of the petition. As well, it has been determined that the petition clearly stated “I approve an annual special tax levy of $84 per property” and contained the requisite 2/3 of the relevant home owners’ signatures. As such, City of Calgary staff within the Roads department duly validated the petition in accordance with section 225 of the MGA.
However, in order to support procedural fairness to all affected parties, I would like to state that the city does provide residents who oppose the imposition of the LEAF an opportunity to have their voices heard as well. Although the MGA does not allow for the addition or removal of names from a petition once it is filed with the City manager it does allow for residents against the LEAF to create 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, Parks staff will be taking 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. – Sean”
For more information on LEAF, please visit the Community Association page here.