Edmonton Minute: Budget Continues, Closures Considered, and a Failed Pilot Project
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a City Council meeting covering a wide range of issues. There will also be a second City Council meeting this week, covering both Wednesday and Friday, where Council will continue with their 2021 budget deliberations. The City expects to lose slightly more than $120 million in revenue due to COVID in 2021 while incurring more than $30 million in additional costs. Councillors appear serious about achieving a 0% tax increase and are planning to make up the $150 million gap by finding $50 million in cuts and transferring $100 million from the fiscal stabilization reserve (the City's savings).
- On Tuesday, at 1:30 pm, there will be a City Council Public Hearing on various local zoning variance proposals throughout the City. These include allowing heavy industrial uses at the edge of Davies Industrial East, allowing further use of Patios in the City, and various infill or commercial developments.
- On Thursday, at 3:45 pm, the Emergency Advisory Committee will receive another verbal report (with no details available beforehand) on COVID 19. Given the new restrictions the province has put in place, it seems somewhat unlikely the city is *still* considering further restrictions. Is the vaccine here yet?
Last Week In Edmonton:
- In order to keep taxes flat for next year, the City is considering closing the Eastglen, Scona and Oliver pools as well as Oliver and Tipton Arenas. The neighbourhoods affected (such as Queen Mary Park) have mobilized against the potential closures. Meanwhile, Hockey Edmonton suggested they could take over the operating costs of the two arenas. The City is also proposing closing its asphalt plant.
- The Edmonton Community Leagues' 10-year agreement ends in 2021 and one possible amendment being considered for the new agreement would allow Community Leagues to rent their spaces to businesses who offer classes like yoga, kickboxing and dance, as opposed to current rules which restrict their spaces to only being used for non-profit activities. The change is being requested by the Community Leagues themselves and will be considered by Council.
- Edmonton will forge ahead with so-called "smart traffic lights" even though the City's pilot project was a complete failure. In the City's own words: "Smart signals are meant to optimize vehicle flow and reduce congestion but the pilot project results showed they did the opposite." It makes you wonder how bad the results of a City pilot project would have to be for Council to not go ahead with a project?
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