Citizen calls for city to earmark bylaw fines for community projects

By Glenn Hicks
July 26, 2018 - 8:00am

A local resident wants the city to ponder a change to bylaw fines that he figures could become a ‘feel-good” revenue generator for community projects.

Meadow Lake city council formally acknowledged receipt of a letter Monday evening written by local contractor Chris MacFarlane. He has asked the city to earmark at least a portion of proceeds from the issuing of fines for things speeding in school zones, not mowing lawns or leaving a garbage can in the street for too long.

“With all the money from fines currently going towards the city’s budget for infrastructure you never get any community betterment that way,” MacFarlane told meadowlakeNOW. “But things like skate parks and walking paths make the community more attractive to outsiders coming in.”

MacFarlane added the optics surrounding the bylaw officer’s efforts aren’t very appealing to the average taxpayer.

“It looks like they’re directing bylaw to go out and fine as much as they can and get as much revenue as they can; that’s not the right way to go and makes people upset,” he said.” When [the city] is trying to get an extra source of revenue it looks like a tax.”

Municipal projects like improved public amenities are normally funded through grants and donations and bylaw fines are often put into local government coffers for critical infrastructure. MacFarlane said he’d feel a whole lot better about getting a ticket for leaving his garbage can out too long if he knew that money was ring-fenced for a certain community project.

“In three years if I see a skatepark that was funded by fine revenue I’m going to have a different outlook on the bylaw officer than I do now.” He suggested the Lions Park walking path around the water near the museum, seniors initiatives, and sidewalks near schools as some other ideas for where some of the fines revenue could go.

“Elected officials are often on the bad end of financial decisions like raising taxes so anyone seeking re-election could perhaps make this ’feel good’ idea part of their platform,” MacFarlane suggested.

City Manager Diana Burton confirmed receipt of MacFarlane’s letter and said his suggestion would be taken into consideration as the various departments worked through their budgeting processes.

 

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