Park and ride fees, Scona Pool closure on hold for now
Proposals for closing the Scona Pool and charging a $3-a-day fee to use LRT park and ride lots were put on hold by Edmonton city council Tuesday as councillors grappled with ways to balance the budget.
The park and ride fee was a last-minute suggestion by city administration to deal with a $35-million shortfall in revenues and would have raised about $440,000 a year.
City councillors decided the proposal deserved more study, particularly since there are concerns it could reduce LRT ridership.
"I'm not discounting the concept," Coun. Bryan Anderson said. "I would like to discount the concept for '09, have a more thorough proposal put in front of us and a serious debate on this and make the decision for 2010."
Council is also delaying the decision to close the Scona Pool on July 1, a move the administration estimated could save the city $80,000 this year.
The two councillors for the ward have asked city staff to prepare a report on the 52-year-old pool that should be completed later this spring.
Mayor Stephen Mandel thinks the school board should take over operations for the pool. Scona Pool is attached to Strathcona High School and is used by students and the school's championship swim team.
The city will run the pool this summer, Mandel said. But the city will ask Edmonton Public Schools to operate it after that.
"Council has made a decision that we're not going to operate the pool or subsidize it the amount of money. If someone else wants to do it, that's fine with us," he said.
Even though the fate of these two cost-cutting measures are still up in the air, councillors formally approved the tax rates for 2009. Councillors will look at other ways of making up the shortfall, like dipping into the contingency fund.
On average, property owners face a 7.3 per cent tax increase. The tax increase is much more dramatic for the owners of apartment buildings: their tax bills are going up an average of 23.9 per cent.
Property taxes are due on June 30, and notices will be mailed out towards the end of May.