Sulphur Mountain sewer line replacement: who pays?
Should Banff residents give $2.5 million of their tax dollars to subsidize three businesses that are not located in the townsite and don't pay taxes to the Town? I asked this question of 66 Banff residents. Of the one-third who replied to my survey, 89% said "no." [editing note: See next blog for update & corrections.]
"I WOULD RATHER THE TOWN TOOK THE SUBSIDY AMOUNT AND DIRECTLY HELPED CHARITIES [RATHER THAN HELPING] THE SHAREHOLDERS OF [THESE] COMPANIES." - SURVEY RESPONDENT
This is about replacing the Sulphur Mtn sewer line which the Town owns and three businesses (Rimrock, the Gondola, Upper Hot Springs) use. The Town has the legal authority to charge the replacement costs back to these businesses through utility rates. Two of the businesses came twice to Council, hat-in-hand, for a subsidy.
Council will likely vote on this on Monday March 25.
“IT IS UNFAIR TO TAX-PAYERS AND TO IN-TOWN BUSINESSES TO PROVIDE A LARGE SUBSIDY TO THESE PROFITABLE BUSINESSES, AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER TOWN PRIORITIES THAT WILL PROVIDE A BENEFIT TO TOWN RESIDENTS.” - SURVEY RESPONDENT
I want to know from more of you if you want your tax dollars to help businesses which do not pay Town taxes.
"FUNDAMENTALLY IT IS INCORRECT FOR THE TOWN TO SUBSIDIZE BUSINESSES THAT DO NOT PAY TAXES IN THE TOWN." - SURVEY RESPONDENT
As a business operator, I generally oppose giving taxpayer's dollars to companies. If Councillors vote to subsidize these companies, it could raise our tax bills, if paid in one year, by an extra 12%.
“IT IS INCREDIBLE TO ME THAT TOWN COUNCIL IS EVEN CONSIDERING REQUIRING TAXPAYERS TO SUBSIDIZE THE COST OF REPLACING SEWERS TO THESE BUSINESSES WHO DO NOT EVEN PAY TAXES TO THE TOWN.” – SURVEY RESPONDENT
I’d love to hear your opinion about this looming sewer line subsidy, so here’s the backgrounder email I sent out with my informal survey on February 10th. The survey results shown here include all responses received before March 10th. I’ll update the graph as more Banff residents respond in the coming weeks.
Please read it and tell me what you think.
(And, I’ll update this blog as new info comes to me from the Town and from Banff residents. [editing note: please see next blog for updates/corrections, Mar 24])