Last week was the most chill week I've managed since being on Council - I attended the Christmas Market (last one is tomorrow from 10-3!), checked out the new show at the St. Albert Art Gallery at their temporary location, I attended the last St. Albert Cash Mob event of 2017, and I met with a few different community members about concerns and upcoming community projects.
I also had a great time at the Public Works Christmas lunch today - I've known many of the guys since my lifeguarding days and it's always fun catching up. Unfortunately, a bunch of the crew couldn't make it because they were flat-out sanding the roads, and being extra-careful with the garbage trucks! Things I learned today: The holidays are the time that it's most likely for residential toilets to back up because people are hosting big gatherings.
What to expect at Monday's Council meeting:
Facility Development (Pool, ice, library, Emergency Services, Administration, the lot)
Fountain Park is packed. Our ice users are travelling all over the region to practice and play. We've seen tremendous residential growth in the north. Our staff are in leased spaces all over the place... Council has been trying to get a handle on what to build next, where to build, how to build, and cost estimates for years, and this request is for some housekeeping so we can focus our efforts:
"Since 2015, Council passed 3 different motions related to facility growth, facility partnerships and the facility predictive model. Elements within the research and preparation of responses to the three motions are intertwined and simultaneous work would result in duplicated efforts. Focusing on one report that determines the framework for moving forward will enable Council to see the plan as a whole and create one direction."
BLESS Platform ($200k or $360K or $600K)
This motion is to fund repairs to the BLESS platform overlooking Big Lake - we finally have the engineering report detailing requirements. The options we're being presented are: $200K for 5 years of extended lifespan (recommended by Administration), $360 for 10 years, or $600K for longer. An alternative option is demolish the structure (for safety) for 100K, or do nothing/keep it closed.
I suspect Council will have many questions about this proposal relating to provincial responsibility - we recently found out that the platform is straddling St. Albert and Alberta Parks land.
2018 Operating & Municipal Budgets ($154.1M + $29.9M)
This report/presentation is the Coles Notes of what to expect next year, based on the budget process that wrapped up on November 28. We expect a property tax increase of 2.4%, with an update in April with final figures.
2018 Utility & Capital Budgets ($39.9M + $12M)
Another report/presentation, the overview of what to expect for utilities in 2018. The average residential customer will see a 2% increase in fees. (Utilities = Water, wastewater, stormwater, garbage/recycling/compost)
2016 External Audit Recommendations - Update
Our City Manager will give an update on progress made regarding audit recommendations.
Homelessness Task Force
Mayor Heron is moving that Administration, by the end of March 2018, propose a framework for a task force to address homelessness in St. Albert.
This is a very brief high-level overview of our meetings, with my personal comments sprinkled in - In no way are my opinions representative of the official direction of council or the City of St. Albert. Please let me know of any typos or errors. As always, I also encourage everyone who is able to tune in the the live-stream of the meeting (3pm here) or attend in-person (3rd floor of St. Albert Place, hang a right getting out of the elevator). You can also register to speak if you have information to present to council. Full agenda packages can be found on the stalbert.ca website.