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Coming Up: Dec 18th Council Meeting

Our next Council meeting is Monday night. You can find an agenda and supporting material by clicking here.

Following are the major topics we will be discussing. As always, all opinions and mistakes belong to me alone, not to Council or City staff.
 

Appointments

The City has a number of boards and committees which rely on public members. We will be appointing a number of those members on Monday. You can see what appointments we will be making by clicking here. I have a binder full of applications that I will be sorting through over the weekend.

 


Budget 2018

In our October budget deliberations, Council gave administration instruction on spending amounts (it set a target of a 2% tax increase with $1,000,000 drawn from reserves). Based on this, administration prepared a budget which is getting presented. Since we already went through three days of deliberations, I don't picture there being too much discussion on this. But you never know...

Currently I plan to vote in favour of this budget. I wanted to see us have a smaller budget increase. At the same time, I can live with the proposed spending. Additionally, Council has already had a very fulsome discussion about the budget and I want to honor that process.

If you scroll through my blog posts, you can see detailed writing about our budget deliberations.

 

Funding for East Coast Garden Party

The previous Council setup a $200,000 grant pot for Large Scale Tourism Events. The East Coast Garden Party applied for the last $50,000 of this funding remaining. We will be discussing whether or not to award this grant.

Currently, I plan to vote in favor. According to the data collected, the event drew 4500 attendees with a big proportion of them from out of town. The data suggests that this event meets the criteria for the grant. Additionally, this group was given the understanding during the last Council term that they would receive funding. I don't want to see our new Council change course on them.

That being said, we don't have enough data to see what kind of tourism draw this event truly had. Fulsome data was not collected. However, this is not the fault of the organizers- they were not given opportunity to collect it due to the grant being so new. However, now that this grant is a known funding source, I expect event organizers of all events to collect better data to justify their applications. I will need more concrete evidence of economic benefit before voting in support of future applicants.



Transit Electronic Fare Management

We will be voting on a $597,935 contract to install an electronic fare system on our transit fleet. This will allow us to use smart cards rather than paper tickets for transit payments.

I currently plan to vote in support of this. It will be more efficient for our staff and more convenient for customers. It will decrease fair evasion and will increase driver safety (there won't be arguments about if someone put in enough change). Most importantly, it will give us a better picture of how transit is being utilized. Right now, we do manual counts that just let us know how many people are using a route throughout a day. An electronic system will allow us to see what stops people are using, what times are the busiest, and the rough demographics of our passengers. This data will be a huge asset as Council makes future decisions about transit.


Disabled Transportation Society

We will be discussing the possibility of adding the Disabled Transportation Society into our Transit Department's portfolio. Currently I am very supportive of this. You can read more details by clicking here.

 

Utility Bylaw

Administration has identified a number of amendments that are needed for the bylaw which governs Aquatera's work in the City. Most of these are just housekeeping matters (ex: changing all imperial references to metric). The only big change will be a requirement for solid waste generated in the City to be disposed of at the Aquatera landfill south of the City. This is important for revenue generation- Aquatera wants to charge below the Alberta median for waste disposal, but needs volume to do this. It is also good for the environment as this landfill has a biogas reactor (my understanding is that it is the only one in the region).

I currently plan to vote in support of this bylaw.


Lot Grading Bylaw

A number of changes are proposed for our Bylaw governing lot grading. Once again, most of these changes are minor housekeeping. The only big one: this bylaw adds in a process to make sure that foundation footings are built to an appropriate height. I also intend to vote in favour of this bylaw.

As always, I welcome questions, thoughts, and feedback.

-Dylan