Edmonton Minute: Councillor Salaries, Tree Management, and Sohi Wants Fairness
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
- This morning, at 9:30 am, there will be a Community and Public Services Committee meeting. The Committee will receive the Annual State of Immigration and Settlement - Year 2 report, the Vehicle for Hire Program’s 2022 and 2023 Workplan, and reports regarding safety and homelessness. The latter report, entitled “Edmonton’s Approach (2023/24) - Supporting Those Experiencing Homelessness, outlines the City’s 2022/23 response and some options going forward.
On Tuesday, at 8:30 am, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting followed at 9:30 am by the Urban Planning Committee. The latter Committee will discuss tree management for the William Hawrelak Park Rehabilitation Project. The park is about to undergo a major renovation and, as a result, more than 700 trees could be at risk during the remedial work. Also on the agenda are semi-annual amendments to speed zones.
- The Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday at 9:30 am. On the agenda is an update regarding the Capital Line South Extension project, the National Housing Co-Investment Fund Contribution, and the 2022 Investment Committee Annual Report. The Committee will be considering how to reduce the scope of the Capital Line project to keep it within its current budget.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Mayor Amarjeet Sohi responded to the news of Calgary’s new arena deal. As part of the deal, the Province will provide $330 million in infrastructure spending for the area around the arena, as well as a portion of a new community rink. Sohi said he’s happy for Calgary, but questioned why no support was provided to Edmonton when Rogers Place was built. He wants to sit down with the new Premier after the election to talk about “equitable treatment.” Sohi noted that Commonwealth Stadium needs $180 million in upgrades to make it a viable location for international soccer events. The provincial government pointed out that, in the last budget, Edmonton received about $300 million less in capital spending than Calgary, meaning that this project actually makes the two cities even.
- The Province called the pilot program with Alberta Sheriffs a success. Under the program, two teams of Edmonton Police Service officers have been partnered with the Sheriffs in an effort to deter crime downtown. At the halfway point of the pilot program, around 923 calls have been responded to, 274 charges have been laid, and 2,986 outstanding arrest warrants have been executed. After the end of the program, on May 31st, full results will be evaluated and next steps decided.
- City Council was informed that their two-year wage freeze is over. This year, salaries will rise by 2.4% automatically. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi’s base salary for 2023 will now be $211,488, while Councillors will be paid $119,484 - not including other perks like an annual $3,600 health care spending account per Councillor and monthly vehicle allowances. This increase will mean that Edmonton now comes in second on the list of Canada's highest-paid elected municipal officials, bested only by Toronto. Recall that the City is currently looking for $60 million in cuts and has just spent $100 million on bike lanes. As our own Kerry Diotte noted, "it would set a good example to taxpayers if councillors and the mayor declined a wage hike at this time."
Common Sense Edmonton doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
If you're not in a position to donate, we understand, but if you appreciate our work, you can help by spreading our message. Please email this post to your friends, share it on Facebook or Twitter, and help make sure every Edmontonian knows what's really going on at City Hall.