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Coming Up: August 12

Council meets Tuesday. The agenda includes:

  • Tax Sales: the potential auctioning of properties which have not paid property taxes

  • Council Event Reporting

  • Regional School Site Committee

Following is more information and my take on agenda items.

As always, any mistakes or opinions belong to me and me alone, not to Council or City staff.

While I express my current views below, I always go into meetings ready to listen and with an open mind. I learn new information and participate in debate. This always informs and sometimes changes how I vote on issues.

If you would like to watch the meeting or read any of its supporting material for yourself, you can do so by clicking here. The City will post the highlights of Council’s decisions here.

Tax Sales

Unfortunately, every year there are some properties whose owners cannot or choose not to pay their tax bills. The Municipal Government Act requires municipalities to recover taxes by selling these properties through a public auction. Council will be voting on whether or not to approve the plans of an auction proposed for November 29.

It us my understanding that it is very, very rare for a property to actually be auctioned off. In almost all cases, the owner pays their outstanding bill after they have been notified about an upcoming auction.

These sales are a requirement of the Municipal Government Act. Furthermore, it is important that all property owners pay their share for municipal services. I intend to vote in favour of approving this tax sale auction.

Council Event Reporting

All Councillors receive a $9000/year discretionary budget. This can be used to buy tickets for local events in our community. It can be used to travel to Edmonton or other places to represent the City to the provincial government or other organisations. Or it can be used to attend classes, workshops, and conferences which contribute to our professional development.

Traditionally, there has been minimal reporting on this spending. All that gets published is a quarterly update on how much of their budget each Councillor has used.

There has been talk about creating more accountability for this budget. At our meeting, Council will be discussing a new procedure. It would require us to fill out a report every time we attend an event or conference that costs more than $2000. This report would breakdown the costs involved, explain key learnings, and make a recommendation on whether or not Councillors should attend it in the future. Reports would be presented at Council meetings, which means they would be publicly accessible through the meeting minutes.

I support this new Procedure. I want to see Council becoming more transparent to the public: this is a step in the right direction.

School Sites Planning

Planning for future schools in and around the City is complicated: it involves two municipalities and four school boards. To discuss future school sites, the Catholic School Board invited all Councils and School Boards to a meeting last spring. We had a very productive conversation. One action item that was agreed upon: a Regional School Sites Committee will be formed.

This committee will have on elected representative from the City, the County, and each school board. It will meet occasionally to coordinate land planning for future schools.

On Monday night, we will be appointing one Councillor to this committee.

I don’t know who the Mayor will be recommending for appointment. However, I trust any of my Council colleagues to represent the City well. I’ll very likely be supporting Mayor Given’s recommendation.

That’s what is on our agenda for Tuesday. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

You can comment below. Or, you can contact me at or 780-402-4166. I'm happy to talk online or over the phone. I'm also always willing to setup a time to meet for coffee.

We also always have great conversation in the GP Round Table group on Facebook.

After Council meeting, you will be able to find highlights posted by the City here.

Thanks for reading!