Edmonton Minute: Tax Freezes, Report Cards, and Ongoing Odour Disputes
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
Having concluded budget deliberations, Council is now on a break until after Christmas with no Committee or Council meetings scheduled until January 7th. On January 7th, there will be an Emergency Advisory Committee meeting. We're guessing COVID is on the agenda again. Just a hunch.
- The City will be laying off more than 400 staff as the new COVID restrictions went into effect yesterday. The affected staff are mostly working at Recreation Centres and the Edmonton Public Library which are, of course, all now closed.
- The Alberta government will be releasing the first edition of their Municipal Fiscal Report Card. The province says it will help citizens compare the finances of their local government to others in the province and across the country, but given this is the first report of its kind we won't know the full details until it's released.
Last Week In Edmonton:
- The City finally passed its operating and capital budgets after much deliberation. Although Edmonton taxes will remain at record high levels, the 2021 tax freeze does mean that they won't climb even higher next year. A cynic might point out that the City seems to have only made it a priority to control taxes for election year.
- Edmonton City bylaw officers are now out and about patrolling public places handing out fines rather than just warnings for COVID-19 violations. In the last week, 28 tickets and 371 warnings were issued. We continue to have concerns about the potential civil liberties implications of expanding the role and powers of bylaw officers.
- It was revealed that Cleanit Greenit, a composting facility on the west side of the City, was issued so many bylaw tickets (33 to be exact) that the City has actually stopped issuing them to the facility. Ticketing was abandoned due to the large number of tickets and court delays. Complaints from the public continued, however, with around 300 complaints being received since ticketing ceased. The company has been in its current location since 1999 and says it has been unfairly targeted, that other nearby facilities like nearby sewers, manufacturing facilities, a landfill, and a recycling plant also contribute to the issue, and that the City's bylaw is flawed and should be reviewed.
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