Thursday, 10 January 2008

Budget and Business Licenses

Budget deliberations are pretty much at a stand still until the end of January. Council did, however pass an interim budget based on the 2007 budget that will keep us operational until we do pass a new budget. We did make some minor adjustments last night that saved an additional $140,000 or so. That of course still leaves us with over $900,000 to make up for. Council directed administration to take another look and bring back some recommendations for further cuts. We will have to wait until the end of the month to find out from our assessor what increase in revenue based on new growth we will have access to before we can pass this years budget. I believe we will still be looking at tax increases to meet our rising costs.

Just before Christmas the Chamber of Commerce made a presentation to council concerning funding the maintenance of the snowmobile trails and other initiatives to market Crowsnest Pass. The Chamber asked council to raise business license fees from $75 to $125 and give that increase to the Chamber to use for marketing and maintenance of the trails. I should mention here that the municipality has budgeted $10,000 in the past for the purpose of maintenance. I asked the Chamber's representative if they had polled the businesses for their opinion on the proposed increase. The response was they had not. I further queried them as to how they would disperse and account for the money and where exactly it would be allocated to. To which they could not respond. Then I asked the chamber to get the answers to those two questions and made a motion directing administration to bring back to council information on the amount of money that would be raised with such an increase. The purpose was to insure the Chamber's request and all pertinent information would be reported on giving the business community a chance to consider the pros and cons of such a request.

There are many things to consider with this proposal and some questions that have to be answered. Does this proposal have the support of the business community as a whole? Should the Chamber be the disbursing agency and deciding where the money is to be spent? Even if this proposal has the support of the business community should the municipality be the collector of the funds? Businesses would have no option to opt out...licenses would have to be paid. If the business community supports the initiatives the chamber wants to take over why wouldn't they pay the Chamber directly and cut out the middle man (the municipality)?

Any way it is definitely an interesting proposal and we will undoubtedly hear from the businesses. The ones that have contacted me so far do not favour an increase in business licenses for this purpose. Give me a call. Give me your thoughts. Call the Chamber and let them know.

I have just added a poll...take the time to vote.


  1. I don't think making all businesses pay is the route to go. Many businesses have no spin off from trails and shouldn't be subsidizing businesses that do, in my opinion. Designated funding can be supplied by the variuos groups that benefit from such actions and leave the administration of that to those groups and eliminate the municipality, as they have bigger, more important duties to take care of.

  2. Thanks for your well thought out comment Dj