City fee increases not supported by bylaw: councillor
EDMONTON -- Planned fee increases for city attractions and business licensing may be delayed for a few days if it turns out the City of Edmonton made the changes illegally, as one councillor suspects it did.
Ward 11 Coun. Mike Nickel believes the changes approved in November – and which he voted in favour of – were made without a bylaw to support them.
Some of the increases affected admission for city attractions, and increased the cost of certain types of business licenses by $5.
“As of Feb. 1, there are a lot of fees and charges, and the city has no legal ground to stand on because we haven’t made it a law yet,” Nickel told CTV News Edmonton.
“Let’s stop, get this all straightened out, because you can’t be charging people unless you passed a law to do so.”
He motioned Monday to have the city postpone the fee increases until the spring 2021 operating budget is discussed, however, acting City Manager Adam Laughlin said without new bylaws in place at the start of next month, the current bylaws and prices will stay in effect.
“The old bylaw would still stand, the fees associated with the old bylaw would still stand, and there won’t be an amendment until that bylaw is in front of council,” Laughlin said.
The changes will likely be approved at the Feb. 3 council meeting, two days later.
While Nickel was happy no one will be charged, he said he wanted to see administration take responsibility for the error.
A recent increase in annual bus passes was unaffected by Monday’s discussion, as transit fares are approved by the city manager and are not outlined in bylaw, unlike fees for services. The ETS adjustments will take effect Feb. 1, as planned.