Edmonton Minute: Budgets Finalized, Photo Radar, and a Very Merry Christmas
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- City Council is on a holiday break. There are no Council or Committee meetings this week.
Edmonton’s Food Bank will receive a $10,000 donation from Ukrainian Canadian Social Services. UCSS said that Ukrainians fleeing the war had been accessing the food bank while getting on their feet and this donation - one-tenth of the organization’s $100,000 annual budget - should help others who need it.
- It’s Christmas this weekend! Thank you to every single one of our readers and supporters who reached out, donated, volunteered, or shared our content this year. We appreciate every single one of you and hope you have a holiday season filled with friends and family. From the team at Common Sense Edmonton, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- City Council approved the budgets for the next four years and, surprise surprise, the tax increase is even higher than originally proposed. Edmontonians are facing a property tax increase of almost 5% per year for the next four years. One of the (many!) approved items was a $100 million funding commitment for bike lanes. We sent out a petition calling on Council to scrap the bike lane spending, but alas, despite a huge outpouring of support, the funding went through. Still, Councillors continue to say that “budgets are fluid”, so we suggest signing the petition if you haven’t yet, as they may remove some spending yet. We’ll be sending a detailed recap of the spending bonanza later this week, so keep an eye on your inbox.
- Edmonton withdrew from the regional transit plan in an effort to cut costs. The regional plan was scheduled to launch in April and was intended to link the communities of Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, St. Albert, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain. The decision to withdraw from the deal will cost taxpayers $15 million - still cheaper than going ahead with the plan. But, we spoke out against this from the get-go, so if Council had been listening, they could have saved even more money by not committing in the first place!
- The City’s lawyers appeared before an arbitration panel to try and overturn a decision that saw taxpayers picking up the tab for photo radar tickets received by City employees while on the job, including bus drivers and garbage truck drivers. Since July 2021, taxpayers have paid almost $32,000 to cover the fines. The transit union’s position is that having to pay fines on top of internal reprimanding amounts to double punishment. A decision will be handed down in the coming weeks.
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