(1) HOW DID THE LEAF PROGRAM GET STARTED?
When the developers finished their last homes in our community they pulled out to start building in new communities. They ceased caring for all the community enhancements they added to make Edgemont a more desirable community to purchase a home in. These green spaces and enhancements were left for the City to maintain. The City budget for community maintenance is very limited, and seems to be one of the first budget items to be negatively impacted by council budget negotiations. The City can only provide minimal basic care to our community. All of our shrub beds, pine beds, rock beds have been left to overgrow. There has been no weed or pest control. Children’s playgrounds have been full of weeds, thistles, and dead and overgrown shrubs, which made them unsafe for play. Boulevards and medians were full of weeds, dandelions, left-over sand and stones from winter road maintenance and little grass.
In general our community was neglected for over 20 years and many of our residents were very concerned about the degradation of their community. Residents asked why our community was so neglected when many of the communities around us were well cared for and had beautiful flower displays.
Initial polling indicated that there was significant support in Edgemont for a rejuvenation and enhancement program. This encouraged a group of resident volunteers to initiate the original City petition in April of 2015. A large group of volunteers were organized and canvassed all the Edgemont homeowners for their support. To achieve success, the City required approval by 67% of the community homeowners voting yes to the LEAF Special Tax Levy. The petition was successful in achieving the required resident support, and the petition was accepted by the City.
However, upon completion of the yes petition and upon acceptance by the City, another petition was initiated against the LEAF program. The same 67% support for this against petition was required by the City. Upon completion, 11.7% of the community homeowners had signed this petition and as a consequence the City declared this petition to be invalid. City Council voted to approve the LEAF program in April 2016 and LEAF was implemented in May 2016.
(2) HOW MUCH DOES LEAF COST?
2016 - The LEAF program is supported by a special property tax levy that is associated with every residential property title in the community of Edgemont. The tax levy to each residential property is $84.00 per year, an average of $7.00 per month. Although, pursuant to City regulations, the LEAF levy could be increased by a maximum of 3% per year, our start up goal is to maintain the levy at $84.00 per year for a period of 5 years.
(3) CAN I OPT OUT OF THE PROGRAM?
No. The original City petition in favour of the LEAF program was signed by the required 67% of Edgemont homeowners making it a successful petition and also binding upon all homeowners.
(4) WHAT DOES OUR $84.00 PER YEAR COVER?
- Spring and fall clean up
- Removal of over- and under-growth and dead plant materials
- Top dressing and grass seeding
- More frequent mowing of grass
- Litter pick up prior to mowing
- Fertilizing as needed
- Aerating as needed
- Herbicide application of public green spaces if warranted and approved by the City of Calgary and in accordance to their set standards.
- IPM- Integrated pest management control
- Watering of grasses, shrub beds and flower displays
- Forming and maintaining flowerbeds
- Purchasing of hardscaping materials (flower containers, rocks, borders, cement slabs, mulch, weed control fabric)
- Purchasing of plant materials (annuals, perennials, shrubs)
- Maintenance of flowerbeds, shrub beds, pine beds, tree wells
- Contractor management fee
(5) WHO RUNS THE LEAF PROGRAM?
The Edgemont LEAF Committee consists of volunteer residents from the Edgemont community, and includes a Director of the Edgemont Community Association as the chairperson. We do not have any paid staff running this program.
(6) WHAT IS THE CONNECTION OF THE LEAF PROGRAM TO THE ECA?
The LEAF program functions separately from the Edgemont Community Association. It operates under the supervision of the City of Calgary Parks Department. This separate program is supported by the money the City receives from the special tax levy collected from every homeowner titled property in Edgemont. The Chair of the LEAF Committee must be a member of the ECA Board of Directors and is responsible to report the Committee’s actions on a regular basis for Board feedback. This ensures that the program is managed by the Committee for the good of the whole of the community and not for its own interests.
The LEAF Committee operates separately from the ECA but maintains an excellent working relationship. There is open communication, board feedback, access to the Edgemont newsletter, the ECA bulletin board, the ECA website, ECA Facebook, all to keep the Edgemont residents informed and to keep costs down.
(7) ANNUAL SPECIAL TAX LEVY LETTER FROM THE CITY?
The City of Calgary will mail out a letter to each property owner at the end of November every year. This letter will detail the amount of the levy to be added to your property tax bill in June of each year.
(8) TREES IN EDGEMONT?
LEAF is not responsible for the care and maintenance of the trees in Edgemont. The Urban Forestry Department of Calgary is responsible for assessing trees for damage, health, age and diseases. They are responsible for planting trees, cutting down damaged branches and trimming overgrowth, and dealing with unruly tree roots.
Any tree concerns may be directed to the City by calling 311.
(9) IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?
Questions, concerns or compliments relating to the operation of the LEAF program may be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also call the City of Calgary 311 number to have questions answered or to give compliments. They will forward you to the correct City department.