Edmonton Minute: Municipal Survey, Meetings Galore, and Property Taxes Increased
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 agenda is lengthy and includes unfinished business from previous meetings, like a a report on the Community Property Safety Team Pilot Program, as well new business like finding ways for the city’s zoo to be less reliant on taxpayer dollars. There will also be an update on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Municipal Response Plan. On Tuesday, there will be an Agenda Review Committee meeting at 8:30 am followed by an Urban Planning Committee meeting at 9:30 am. At the latter meeting, the Committee will address ridership improvement strategies for public transit, how to potentially commingle paratransit and on-demand transit services, and creating a District plan with the goal of having the city’s neighbourhoods contain most of the services and amenities Edmontonians need on a daily basis.
The Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday at 9:30 am to discuss the Chinatown Strategy, 2024 budgets for Business Improvement Areas, and designating various sites as Municipal Historic Resources. On Friday, at 9:30 am, there will be a Special Council Services Committee meeting to discuss Ward boundaries and other housekeeping items. Later in the day, at 2:00 pm, there will be a Special City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee. Much of this meeting will be held in-camera.
- The Province is seeking feedback regarding the Municipal Government Act. Specifically, on training requirements for City Councillors, whether or not Council should be able to meet in private, what things they can discuss while in-camera, and the recall thresholds for elected officials. We’ve long said that the process for recalling the Mayor or sitting Councillors is arduous and unlikely to ever result in being able to actually succeed. Our friends at the Alberta Institute have plenty of information available on the issues with recall legislation as it is currently written. We would encourage you to fill out the Province’s survey and advocate for lowering the thresholds (ie. making it easier) to recall an elected official. The survey can be accessed here, but please fill it out soon as it closes on December 6th.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- Council approved a 6.6% tax increase for 2024 - up from the 4.96% agreed upon last December. During the deliberations, Mayor Amarjeet Sohi introduced 15 operating budget amendments, “saving” around $8 million annually and resulting in a miniscule reduction from the initially proposed 7.09% hike. Further adjustments may be made in the springtime. We’ll be starting a petition and calling on City Hall to lower your taxes. Stay tuned!
- More details emerged on the City’s electric bus boondoggle. As it turns out, the City ignored expert advice and purchased the buses from a fledgling company - one now mired in bankruptcy proceedings. There were issues during what little testing was done - and very few cold-weather tests were performed. Official advice was to start with five - but the City decided to buy 60 after a public feedback survey of 3,000 people indicated they were wanted.
- A report by the Auditor General revealed that cases opened with Edmonton's 311 system are closed before being fully resolved. While the system effectively responds to and closes the majority of tickets, a significant number are closed without complete resolution. The audit revealed issues with referral processes and communication, prompting the City to address gaps allowing incomplete closures.
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.