Tuscany Residents Association(TRA) - Landscaping and Snow Removal Services

This survey is sent to you on behalf of the (TRA).  We need your input to make a very important decision regarding the ongoing maintenance of green space, landscaping and potentially snow removal in Tuscany.
Current Level of Service:
The TRA receives an Operating Grant from the City to perform functions such as maintaining City green spaces and landscaping.

Our challenge:
In March 2017 the City of Calgary Council voted through the Enhanced Landscape Maintenance (ELM) program. This directly impacts the citizens of Tuscany as it impacts the Operating Grant the TRA receives to provide the current services to manage green spaces and landscaping.

Challenge summary:
  • Changes to water allotments under the ‘Water Management Plan’. Our water bill is now $25,000 higher than last year.
  • Our Operating Grant is being reduced by 33% from 2017 to 2018. (The new Operating Grant will be $110,428 in 2018 vs $166,514 in 2017.) We have an additional cost regarding weed control of approximately $21,000.
  • We have taken all measures to reduce costs but we can’t absorb these adjustments while maintaining the current level of service.
  • To maintain current services the adjustment results in a $20 increase per year to the annual Tuscany dues per household.
  • As an additional opportunity, an additional $12 increase per year to dues would allow the TRA to provide snow clearing services to Tuscany pathways.
Challenge details:
City Parks has a Water Management Plan in place focused on reducing water use.  Parks is now requiring ELM communities (Tuscany is one) to pay for water above what they would ‘normally’ release under the Water Management Plan.  The ‘normal’ amount of water is less than Tuscany is/was accustomed to using in order to keep our community ‘green’.  We received an unexpected / unbudgeted bill in the order of $25,000 last year for water use.

The TRA receives from the City an operating grant enabling us to perform mowing and trimming to a total area (hectares) of grass / green space in our community.  The amount of the grant we will receive in 2018 has been reduced by over 33% from our 2017 allocation.  In 2017 we received a grant in the amount of $166,514.  This is being reduced to $110,428 for 2018, a reduction of $56,086 or 33.6%.  We estimate the deficit to be in the order of $100,000 (Approximately $56k grant reduction + $25k water + $21k weed control).  The TRA would need to increase household fees by approximately $20 / year to offset the changes.

In addition to landscape, Tuscany is privileged with many kilometers of pathways that provide vital active transportation links for many of our residents including walking to and from school or simply for recreational purposes.  The TRA can provide snow clearing services on these pathways at an approximate cost of $12 per household per year.  

Our Community Decision – We NEED your feedback as Residents of Tuscany.
Based on the situation and feedback from our Board, there are 3 options available to us:

1) Reduce Maintenance Quality in Tuscany to align with the reduced Operating Grant in 2018. 
2) Increase Annual TRA Member Fees in order to preserve the level of maintenance that Tuscany residents have become accustomed to and add snow removal services for our pathway network ($20 landscape + $12 snow removal per year).
3) Withdraw from the ELM program and have the City perform the landscaping maintenance under the LEAF Program.  This will then result in special property tax levy assigned to every residential title in the community of Tuscany.  We are uncertain as to the amount of this levy however for comparison the levy for the community of Valley Ridge is $60 / year and for Edgemont it is $84 / year.

* 1. Are you a current resident of Tuscany?

* 2. Do you have enough information to make an informed decision on the Long Term Landscaping and Maintenance Strategy for our community?

* 3. The reduced grant funding and changes to free water allocation for Tuscany put us in a deficit situation. Would you rather:

* 4. Should Tuscany opt out of the ELM program and have the City perform the maintenance under the LEAF Program?

A "yes" response to this question means you support an additional City tax levy on your property of approximately $84 per year using Edgemont as an example.  This City tax would cover landscape only and does not include any snow removal on pathways.