The 2024 proposed administration budget for the city has outlined potential user fee increases. The proposed budget stated that the city's revenue stream comes from three sources: user fees and charges, franchise fees and tax revenue.
"Increasing revenue sources, such as taxes and user fees, will help the City maintain current service levels, advance focus areas and sustain critical services to the future," budget documents stated.
The draft version of the Master User Fee By-law indicates that taxation administration fees, cemetery fees, some business licence fees, as well as animal licensing feed would go up. Other fee hikes include utility administration fees, meter fees, waste and recycling fees, Subdivision and Development Appeal Board fees, building inspection fees, as well as commercial permit fees.
Some user fees which have already been hiked as of September 1, 2023, were included in the user fee tables. User fees that have already been increased include Genesis Place, transit, Bert Church Live Theatre, as well as Town and Country Centre. It does not appear that these already increased user fees will go up further as per the 2024 budget. The proposed fee hikes for 2024 range from 50 cents to a few dollars, with the highest fee increases being in cemetery fees and interment rights.
The proposed city budget stated that, 'For the 2024 budget there was an increase of 2.1% to all user fees that were known before the user fee consolidation. Administration will perform a full market analysis in 2024 to determine the 2025 user fee rates for all rates included in the Master User fee By-law.'
According to The City, earlier this year administration was working on grouping user fees into one Master User Fee By-law. This was done as a way to make user fees more readily available and accessible to the public.
"Every three years, Administration completes full costing and market analysis on user fee rates, benchmarking Airdrie’s position to ensure the city is charging the appropriate rates. An inflation factor equal to CPI is applied on the two years between market analysis."
Apart from a potential hike in user fees, the proposed budget also proposed a tax hike for Airdrie households. The tax increase would be over $200.
"Assuming the deficit in the Proposed Budget is cleared with a tax increase of 9.7 per cent rather than a reduction in expenditures, the overall effect on the average household would be an increase to municipal taxes of about $203 per year. The utility rate increase of 4.7 per cent has also assumed budget figures will be approved at Administration proposed rates," city documents stated.
Airdrie City Council will be deliberating upon the budget in the coming weeks about the ultimate figures. The proposed tax increase for Airdrie residents is in line with other cities and towns that neighbour Airdrie. Calgary's budget is also proposing tax increases for Calgary households, while Cochrane's town council has also proposed taxes to go up.
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