An Airdrie family is frustrated by City Council's decision at the August 21 meeting to deny a waiver on late fees applied to their deceased mother's property taxes.

Sisters Tracy and Jodi Osborne say the decision, stemming from a 4-2 vote by council, demonstrates a lack of compassion.

Tracy Osborne explained that their mother Merle Osborne passed away suddenly on June 29, the day before property taxes were due, after being hospitalized. Merle had been quite sick, but the passing still came quickly. According to Osborne, the sisters had cheques prepared for Merle's three properties, but due to the sudden passing, the cheques went unsigned and the taxes weren't paid on time. Merle's estate was frozen and it was some time until the sisters could get access and pay the taxes. In the meantime, a 5 per cent penalty of $494 was incurred. Osborne said the tax bill was paid two weeks after Merle's passing.

After discussions with Mayor Peter Brown, the sisters decided to go to Council to get the late penalty waived. Osborne said in their discussion, Mayor Brown said he didn't see a problem getting the late fee waived. Tracy drafted and sent a letter to City Council making the request. 

"We asked the City of Airdrie to waive the late fees, because how can you charge late fees to a person that passed away the day before taxes were due?"

When the issue came up at the August 21 Council meeting, there was some confusion about whether City Council could legitimately waive the late fee. The City's current tax bylaw doesn't give Council the ability to waive penalties, but under the Province's Municipal Government Act, the City did have the authority to grant the waiver. Historically, the City of Airdrie has not granted waivers on late fees.

Councillor Allan Hunter expressed some worry that granting the waiver would set a precedent. "If we amend bylaws on a case by case basis, we may be going down a slope that may be a little bit slipperier than we want to slide down."

Councillor Candice Kolson agreed with Hunter, "As far as fairness goes, we can't review this on a case by case basis. We have to make this fair across the board for all residents."

Councillor Ron Chapman made a motion that Council grant the waiver for the $494 late fee on a one-off basis, saying the family had already suffered enough through the passing of their mother. Chapman and Mayor Brown supported that motion, but it was defeated by Councillors Hunter, Kolson, Fred Burley and Darrell Belyk. Councillor Kelly Hegg was not in attendance at the meeting.

Councillor Kolson then made a motion that City staff respond to the family, explaining the reason for denying the waiver and including a compassionate response. That motion passed on a 4-2 vote, with Mayor Brown and Councillor Chapman opposed.

Osborne said she and her family were disappointed and angered by the discussion, decision, and ensuing letter.

"The bottom line is that it's not about the late fees. It's not about the money. What matters to us is the lack of empathy and compassion shown in this scenario by Council."

The letter sent by the City offered only one line of condolence and a brief explanation of Council's decision, reading "after earnest discussion, Council determined that they were unable to provide the requested waiver for several reasons, including the potential of setting a precedent."

Osborne was also angered by statements by Councillor Hunter regarding her mother's financial situation and past history of tax payment.

Osborne said she did talk with Mayor Brown on the phone prior to receiving the letter. In the time since the decision, some Councillors have reached out to the family online, but Osborne and her sister have not been satisfied with the response.

The family will now advocate to see the bylaw amended so that in the future, other families won't go through what they've experienced.

"We are firmly going to press ahead that they need to amend this bylaw for every other family that goes through this, that passes away during tax time, because it's just not acceptable to have to pay late fees on a deceased person's property."

A spokesperson for the City responded via email to a request for a comment, saying that City administration doesn't have the authority to waive penalties and the decision on the case rests with Council.


Questions, comments or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

More Local News

City Orders Inspections of Boilers at Apartment Complex Where CO Leaks Occurred

In a letter to residents of an Airdrie apartment complex where two carbon monoxide leaks occurred in one week, the City of Airdrie has informed them that they must have their boilers and associated…

Stay Safe While Emulating Canadian Athletes This Family Day

As great athletes, skate, ski and snowboard in South Korea, you and your children may be tempted to emulate them this Family Day long weekend.

Students Show Off In The Battle Of The Books (VIDEO)

There was a battle going on in Airdrie today (February 15th) as dozens of Middle School students took part in the first ever RVS Battle of The Books.

Some Facilities Will Close Monday for the Holiday

It's the long weekend, and as usual that means there will be some closures and modified hours.

Pitt Applauds Agreement to Prevent Rural Crime in Alberta

Airdrie Conservative MLA Angela Pitt is happy with a memorandum of understanding that was signed yesterday (February 15) between two groups that are intimately involved in the prevention of rural…

SACRT Arrest Man Wanted for 63 Charges

An 44 year old Olds man will appear in Didsbury Court today (February 16) after he was arrested earlier in the week for a high number of outstanding charges in multiple communities.

Expect Cold Weather for the Long Weekend

The Family Day long weekend is coming up, and you might be hoping for warm weather.

Third ATM Theft Prompts RCMP To Urge Businesses to Take Preventative Steps

Main Street Beer & BBQ is the latest Airdrie business to be targeted by thieves trying to steal an ATM.

Annual Report Shows Average Class Size in Rocky View

A report from Rocky View Schools shows that average class sizes in the division fall somewhere between 20 and 30 students.

Wintery Road Conditions Close Highways In Southern Alberta

While the snow and wind didn't cause too much trouble for drivers in Airdrie, it was a different story outside of the City.

Airdrie Hosts Firefighter Training Course (VIDEO)

The Chinook Winds Fire Hall hosted a unique and crucial training course this week, organized by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF).

RCMP Make Final Arrest in Didsbury Kidnapping

A fifth and final suspect turned herself into RCMP on Monday (February 12th), in relation to an armed kidnapping in Didsbury late last month.

Deadline for Mayor for a Day Coming Up

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Airdrie's Mayor?

Local Students Celebrate Shrove Tuesday

You may know today (February 13) as the festival of Mardi Gras, but for thousands in Airdrie's Catholic community, it's more than a celebration. Today marks the final day before lent, commonly known…

Mid-Year Update Shows Progress on Literacy in Rocky View

At last Thursday's (February 8) Rocky View School Board Meeting, Trustees heard a mid-year update on the division's Four Year Plan.

Complaints Prompt Reminder About School Zone Driving

After receiving numerous complaints about drivers disobeying school zone rules, Airdrie RCMP has released some tips as a reminder of how drivers should behave in school zones.

Alberta and B.C. Continue Their Pipeline Dispute

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke yesterday (February 12th) to give an update on their ongoing pipeline dispute with B.C.

Mourners Remember Trai Schlichter at Candlelight Vigil

Last night (February 11), members of the community gathered at Nose Creek Park for a candlelight vigil to remember 12-year-old Trai Schlichter, who passed away last week after a tragic carbon…

RVS Students Learn The Value Of Leadership

It was a special day for Middle School Students Across Rocky View today (February 12th) as they took part in Leadership Conference in Airdrie.

Airdrie Firefighters to Learn Survival Skills this Week

The Airdrie Fire Department is hosting a survival training course this week that is designed to help firefighters manage life-threatening situations and make sure all go home safely at the end of… is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

2nd Annual Family Day Skate

19 February 2018 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Chinook Winds Park

Ride n' Wine Survivor

23 February 2018 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

PUSH cycling studio, Airdrie

FREE! PUSH 101 Workshop

24 February 2018 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

PUSH cycling studio, Airdrie

RIDE n' Learn with Life of Wellness

03 March 2018 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

PUSH cycling studio, Airdrie


08 March 2018 7:00 pm

Lutheran Church of the Master

Heart of the Community Airdrie Markets

10 March 2018 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Daybreak Community Church, Airdrie

The Spirit Within Psychic Expo

10 March 2018 11:00 am - 6:00 pm