city flags
In the spirit of reconciliation, Edmonton City Hall will now permanently fly the Treaty 6 and Métis flags. // Chelsea Novak

Provincial budget forces Edmonton council to shift gears

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The City of Edmonton is looking at making “adjustments” read “cuts” to its 2019-22 operational and capital budgets to maintain the 2.6 per cent tax increase that was originally approved.

There is also hope of geting to a zero per cent tax increase.

The moves come in response to the 2019-20 Alberta Budget released on Oct. 25.

Tuesday, city council got a first look at the proposal the city’s administration is working in the lead up to a Thursday, Dec. 5 public hearing.

Among the recommendations was cancelling any projects that were going to be funded through Alberta Community Transit (ACT) Grants, as that money a total of $89.3 million has now been withdrawn. Among those projects were the Terwillegar Drive expressway upgrades, stages 1 and 2, and that elicited a rather emotional response from Coun. Tim Cartmell, who began pelting the administration with questions.

“This project will affect 80,000 people on the Henday, 120,000 vehicles on the Whitemud, and over 40,000 vehicles and counting, every single day every single business day whereas the 20-year projection for the entire Valley Line is 120,000 riders,” Cartmell says. “There’s a project here that it suggests should be funded in its entirety, which is the Columbia Avenue project and I hate picking on other projects and I’m sorry but I want to know does the most number of people that are affected by a particular project enter into the prioritization process?”

It’s worth pointing out that the answer to Cartmell’s question not the one given by the city employee who awkwardly handled this rant, but the actual answer is right now, Tim. The reports on the suggested operating and capital budgets were being presented to council ahead of the Dec. 5 meeting precisely so that council could give feedback in advance. The city administration prepares things like budget adjustments at the direction of council, and councillors are then free to do things like put forward amendments. (Especially when it’s like a month ahead of time. But we’ll get to that. )

Cartmell pointed out that the Terwillegar Drive project was 40 years in the waiting and that it had been identified as a priority before the ACT Grants were ever introduced. Therefore it made no sense to him that Terwillegar Drive would be dismissed along with all the other ACT projects.

Couns. Scott Mckeen and Sarah Hamilton said they agreed that Terwillegar should be more of a priority, and Mayor Don Iveson agreed as well.

He put forward a motion for the administration to reprioritize the civic debt capacity allocated for matching ACT funding “within and beyond” the ACT projects, and to rescope both stages of the Terwillegar Drive project to account for “the elimination of the province’s specific requirements around the dedicated transit elements,” as well as come up with an analysis of the merits doing the stages together versus separately and maintain the current debt room currently allocated to the project in the forthcoming budget adjustments.

“I ran on doing something about Terwilliger and campaign promises mean something to me,” Iveson says.

The motion passed unanimously.

Later in the meeting, Coun. Jon Dziadyk put forward a motion to declare an economic emergency, but his fellow councillors felt such a declaration would send the wrong message to Edmontonians and the motion was voted down.

Council approves living wage for contract employees

Council approved a revision to City Policy C612A, Living Wage for City of Edmonton Employees and Employees of Contracted Services to include “employees of contracted services who perform duties on behalf of the City” amongst those who the City of Edmonton pays a living wage.

The living wage is specific to Edmonton (unlike the minimum wage) and is determined for the city each year by the Edmonton Social Planning Council. Edmonton’s living wage for 2019 is $16.51, which is calculated based on two income earners supporting a family of four.

Paying every city employee a living wage is action item #14 in End Poverty in a Generation: A Road Map to Guide Our Journey, which was approved by council on May 26, 2016.

Dziadyk said he has a problem with the method used to determine the living wage and said he would vote against the motion because he doesn’t feel the city can afford it right now.

Nickel and Cartmell joined him in voting against the motion.

Henderson confirmed with city staff that the process for determining the minimum wage was much more rigorous than Dziadyk believed.

“They [the Edmonton Social Planning Council] do that yearly through fairly major studies, through use of Stats Can information and other information that would be available to them to come up with a number, which basically is trying to tell us that nobody working for us should be employed for less than it takes to live? To pay for food, to pay for housing, to support a family?” he asked. “And anything below that, they’re essentially subsidizing our operation with their substandard living?”

A member of the administration replied in the affirmative to all three portions of the question.

Walters pointed out that research shows living wages increase the local economy.

Banga asked if city employee wages go down if the living wage decreases. The answer from the staff was that presumably for contract employees that would be the case since wages would be established for each contract.

Banga also asked how the city can be sure the money will go to employees rather than the contractors, and the administration said they’ll be asking contractors who work for the city to abide by their policies and doing some auditing to ensure that they do.

Calder Cenotaph moving to Calder Community League

Council approved an amendment to Bylaw 17856, a Bylaw to Designate the Calder Cenotaph as a Municipal Historic Resource, that will allow the cenotaph to be relocated from Calder Community Park to outside the Calder Community League as part of the monument’s restoration.

Lewis Farms Community Recreation Centre and Library bylaws moved to Dec. 11

All bylaws pertaining to the Lewis Farms Community Recreation Centre and Library were moved to the city council budget adjustment meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Council approves committee to hire new city manager

Council passed a bylaw to create a city manager recruitment committee without selecting its members, as there were more than four councillors interested in being on the committee and they would need to cast ballots in private.

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Event
Edmonton city council meeting, Nov. 5
Location
Edmonton City Hall
Start time
9:30 a.m.
Event status
Finished
Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
10:09 am

Council called the meeting to order again at 10:09 a.m.

Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
10:02 am

Council has now recessed for a flag-raising.

Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
10:02 am

Council approved a request from city manager Linda Cochrane and deputy city manager Adam Laughlin to change the due date for the council budget process feedback from Nov. 5 to Jan. 6.

They also approved reports on Annexation Costs - Supplemental Operating Budget Adjustment, Expectations for Reports and Notice of Intention to Designate the Kenneth Henderson Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource without debate. 

Expectations for Reports was following up on an issue that arose at the Oct. 21 council service meeting, the report recommends that the administration should work with the Mayor Don Iveson to prepare a report with the aim of keeping council reports clear and brief, ensuring any attachments to the reports are important “in the context of reasonable expectations for reading” and addressing other issues to help things run smoother during meetings.

Notice of Intention to Designate the Kenneth Henderson Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource was a report from the urban planning committee recommends that the owners of the Kenneth T. Henderson Residence (9807 91 Ave. NW) be informed that, per their request, the city intends to designate the residence as a municipal historic resource.

If successfully designated, any future renovations to the residence would need to meet the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

To that end, the report also recommends that the city agree to pay the property owners $75,000 upon completion of restoration they have planned that includes repairing and stabilizing the front porch, refurbishing the exterior cladding, windows and doors, and restoring the residence’s existing masonry.

Finally, the report recommends that Cochrane be appointed to deal with any matters that arise after the Notice of Intention to Designate a Municipal Historic Resource is issued.

Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
10:02 am

Council approved a request from city manager Linda Cochrane and deputy city manager Adam Laughlin to change the due date for the council budget process feedback from Nov. 5 to Jan. 6.

 

 

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They also approved reports on Annexation Costs - Supplemental Operating Budget Adjustment, Expectations for Reports and Notice of Intention to Designate the Kenneth Henderson Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource without debate. 

Expectations for Reports was following up on an issue that arose at the Oct. 21 council service meeting, the report recommends that the administration should work with the Mayor Don Iveson to prepare a report with the aim of keeping council reports clear and brief, ensuring any attachments to the reports are important “in the context of reasonable expectations for reading” and addressing other issues to help things run smoother during meetings.

 

Notice of Intention to Designate the Kenneth Henderson Residence as a

Municipal Historic Resource was a report from the urban planning committee recommends that the owners of the Kenneth T. Henderson Residence (9807 91 Ave. NW) be informed that, per their request, the city intends to designate the residence as a municipal historic resource.

 

If successfully designated, any future renovations to the residence would need to meet the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada.

 

To that end, the report also recommends that the city agree to pay the property owners $75,000 upon completion of restoration they have planned that includes repairing and stabilizing the front porch, refurbishing the exterior cladding, windows and doors, and restoring the residence’s existing masonry.

 

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Finally, the report recommends that Cochrane be appointed to deal with any matters that arise after the Notice of Intention to Designate a Municipal Historic Resource is issued.

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Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
9:48 am

In the spirit of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the City of Edmonton will, from this point forward, be flying Treaty 6 and Métis flags in front of City Hall. 

Council heard from speakers representing Treaty 6 and the Métis in response.

Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
9:37 am

Council adopted the agenda with a number of additions. They also postponed Report 6.3: Recreation Facilities—Financial Options and Report 6.6: Provincial Red Tape Reduction Submission.

 

 

Chelsea Novak
Chelsea Novak
November 5, 2019
9:33 am

Mayor Don Iveson called the Edmonton city council meeting for Tuesday, Nov. 5 to order at 9:33 a.m.

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