Thanks to the St. Albert firefighters for putting on another great Family Day event at Lacombe Park Lake - I had fun!
St. Albert Arts & Heritage hosted their annual reception - it was great meeting with some of the arts and culture community, and I look forward to the work that is being done in 2018 to help support the arts community.
The city hosted our annual employee appreciation event, and I was especially pleased to see a couple of the staff I worked with at Fountain Park celebrating long service milestones!
I attended the Swiss Chalet Seniors Day at Servus Place - it was great catching up with the regulars. (If you're interested, check it out the third Wednesday in February!)
Due to a scheduling mishap, a couple councillors showed up to the annual Economic Development breakfast a day early - Although I wasn't available to attend a day later, I'm told that it was a good opportunity to hear from Mayor Heron and others about developments in the city.
I attended the Offsite Levy Open House, and was pleased with the number of developers in attendance. The same presentation will be brought to Council in the next few weeks, and I don't expect many questions about the levies this year.
Preliminary Year End Recommendation for Surplus
We are looking at an operating surplus of $4.1 million, which is a 2.6% variance from the $158M budget. "This is primarily due to:
Vacancies throughout the organization.
Decrease in snow removal and photo radar contract.
Increase in permits issued.
Decrease in photo radar and municipal enforcement fines.
Increase in RCMP contract"
We'll look at how to handle the surplus, with Admin recommending that about 1M goes to the Stabilization Reserve and about 3M goes to the Capital Reserve. Final debate is in April.
Capital Projects Prioritization Criteria
St. Albert has a long list of capital projects on our wish list - from a new fire hall, a swimming pool, ice rinks, a branch library, and many more - but we have to prioritize these, and make sure we're taking advantage of any possible opportunities for shared use or savings. In a move towards a better prioritization process, Council provided feedback about a proposed prioritization framework at a meeting earlier this month. On Monday, we'll discuss the final details about moving ahead with the proposed matrix.
Motion - Sturgeon River Valley & Natural Areas Protection Bylaw
This is a motion to have Admin create a new bylaw that protects the river valley area, natural areas, and parklands, which would be in addition to the provincially-legislated Environmental and Municipal Reserve Dedications, and the Land Use and Municipal Development Plan bylaws.
"Administration recommends that the most efficient way to address... a bylaw that would provide further clarity around the use, preservation, or development of the river valley, natural areas, or parks is through an update to the MDP. The MDP is the City’s statutory planning bylaw and is based on provincial legislative requirements and the community vision, and is the foundation upon which the Land Use Bylaw and City master plans are built."
ESRI Enterprise Agreement
This is a request to approve a $189,000 sole-source contract for a software system that we're already using.
"The City uses the ESRI geographical information system (GIS) software suite for creation and maintenance of all geographic information, including parcel and street maps, buried utilities, asset management, online map services, mobile applications, emergency services, Transit, and maps embedded within other corporate and resident-facing software applications. Changing GIS software systems is neither desirable nor practical and the standardized ESRI small government agreement represents very good value."
This is to update the Integrity Commissioner bylaw to allow an initial 6-month sole-source contract to allow for more comprehensive information for subsequent RFP's.
"Administration considered issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the service of an Integrity Commissioner. However, the position of Integrity Commissioner is novel and unique to Alberta municipalities (Calgary is currently the only other Alberta municipality that utilizes an Integrity Commissioner), and the City of St. Albert has no information as to approximately how many complaints may be received and the amount of time that would be required to conduct any subsequent investigations. This would have made it difficult to define the scope of the service required in a RFP and difficult for any proponents to provide accurate costing for the provision of their services... The initial six month term will help establish greater insight into the scope of the service to be provided and help establish more accurate costing for the provision of the service. Any subsequent appointments would then be for a one year term, with the possibility of one year term extensions."
Public Hearing - Jensen Lakes Stage 6 Redistricting
A request has been received "to redistrict 3.24 ha (+/-) of the area from Urban Reserve (UR) to Low Density Residential (R2). Permitted uses within the R2 district include, but are not limited to, duplex, semi-detached housing, and single-detached housing. The other part is to redistrict 1.12 ha (+/-) of the area from Urban Reserve (UR) to Public Park (P) to accommodate an existing portion of a Stormwater Management Facility (SWMF)."
This is a 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.