Edmonton Minute: Tax Hike, Transit Bylaw, and City Growth Planning
Edmonton Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Edmonton politics
This Week In Edmonton:
City Hall begins its week on Monday at 9:30 am with a meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee to discuss a communications and education strategy with regard to biological pest control measures. The Committee will also receive a report about growing and supporting the local festival scene. On Tuesday, the Agenda Review Committee meets at 9:00 am, followed by the Urban Planning Committee at 9:30 am. The latter will discuss an update to the Big City Plan which talks about what kind of building growth will be preferred as the city population increases.
On Wednesday, there will be an Executive Committee meeting at 9:30 am. The Committee will discuss an update to the Edmonton Economic Incentive Construction Grant program as well as hear an update on the “Big City Moves Plan” which talks about city planning for the next 50 years. This will be followed by a meeting of the City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm to discuss a consultant's private report.
- Finally, wrapping up the week, we have the Audit Committee meeting on Friday from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm followed by the Audit Selection Committee at 1:30 pm. The Audit Committee will discuss an audit on the City's homelessness response and on arterial roadways, amongst other items, while the Audit Selection Committee will discuss a public appointment to the Committee.
Last Week In Edmonton:
As requested by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro, the City of Edmonton released its Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan following the unprovoked deaths of two men in Chinatown. It highlights 12 recent actions the City has taken to support safety as well as four areas of long-term work that are ongoing. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi placed plenty of blame on the Province, saying the provincial government has neglected its responsibility and failed to provide funding for a number of City asks. It remains to be seen whether the province will accept the report, as it seems clear the intent of requesting it was to prompt the City to make changes, not just write a report on their existing plans.
- Edmonton Councillors amended the City’s Conduct of Transit Passengers bylaw and voted to make loitering on or around transit property and using drugs on transit municipal offences. This is a reversal of Council’s 2021 decision which removed loitering from the bylaw after heavy criticism for the removal of homeless people from a transit shelter during a brutal cold snap. Stay tuned for winter 2022, where City Council will reverse this reversal and allow people to loiter and, of course, summer 2023 where the Council will reverse the previous reversed reversal and kick people out again.
- The Spring 2022 budget adjustments occurred over this past week. While reporting shows that Council added $135 million to its budget to pay for increased scopes of work and increasing project costs, our soon-to-be-released budget analysis shows that the headline numbers are only the tip of the iceberg. We hope to have a detailed analysis of this adjustment soon! It’s worth noting that a tax increase to pay for this adjustment is very likely.
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