Edmonton Minute: Snow Removal, Transit Money, and a Spring Budget Update
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
City Council will be meeting on Tuesday at 9:30 am to consider spring operational budget adjustments. We will be working on a summary of the update to release to our readers as soon as voting is concluded. Council will also attempt to work through a large agenda by Wednesday at noon. Several reports will be received including the 2021 Consolidated Financial Statements for 2021 and a Mass Transit System - Sustainable Funding and Service Growth - Interim Update.
If the City Council meeting doesn’t conclude on Tuesday, it will resume on Wednesday at 9:30 am. Later on Wednesday, Council will hold a public hearing for about 20 zoning amendments beginning at 1:30 pm. Of note, the City may no longer have to do this sort of thing in the future if they pass the omnibus upzoning bylaw that is also up for consideration (see below).
- A survey on the redesign of the Baturyn neighbourhood will open online for public feedback on Friday. The City will be working on improvements to the streets, alleys, sidewalks, and streetlights in the area. If you live in the neighbourhood, be sure to have your say.
Last Week In Edmonton:
City Administration said a major tax hike is needed to clear snow in a timely fashion. We disagree. Better program management is the solution. Current spending is about $57.1 million, but apparently $163 million each year is what will be needed to run a program that would meet the City's current policy on clearing timelines. Another option is also being looked at - an increase to the program of more than $42 million that would carry a 2.4% property tax hike and would cut the average clearing times in half. While that’s better than the massive increase needed to actually meet the timelines, it’s still not acceptable. The problem here is government incompetence, not a lack of taxpayer money.
- The City is considering upzoning many residential areas to make way for densification. The proposed change would upzone single-family and duplex lots to allow infill development of row houses, garden suites, small apartment buildings, and some small businesses. The proposed change would remove some barriers to development and help with housing affordability, but would also reduce public and Council input in the rezoning process.
- It was announced that Edmonton will get $66.9 million for transit thanks to a commitment by the Province to match federal funding. Transit in Edmonton has faced rider shortfalls which have consistently pushed down revenue numbers since COVID-19 started. Ridership in the city has dropped about 40% during the pandemic. Maybe all of this funding will help to clean up our LRT stations? Probably wishful thinking.
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