GPFC Meeting March 11, 2019
Chamber of Commerce
Council met with the Chamber of Commerce for an annual meeting and dinner - I was only able to attend part of the meeting, but it was a reminder of how lucky we are to have such an active and engaged Chamber in St. Albert.
I had a handful of other more casual meetings, but the most notable Council happenings were the notices of motion that were given by councillors:
I gave notice that I will move that we consider changes to the land-use bylaw to allow front-back access duplexes, like this one by an Edmonton builder. Essentially, they look like single-family houses from the front.
Councillor McKay gave notice that he’d move to extend the days of operation of the Mike Mitchell Recycling Depot from 5 to 7 days, excluding holidays.
Councillor Hansen moved that we draft a resolution requesting that “the Provincial Government establish regulations that restrict the advertisement and promotion of vaping products to youth… for submission to the 2019 <Alberta Urban Municipalities Association> Convention.”
After consultation with many frustrated small home-business owners, I gave notice that I will move: That we allow home-based business to employ one person who does not live at the residence (I'd be open to discussing two to match Edmonton rules.); That we allow a 20X30cm (max) exterior sign/plaque on the residence to advertise the business, and; That we reduce or waive the business licence fee when all employees are residents and there are no business-related visits to the home.
GPFC agenda highlights
Capital Funding Strategies
Our 10-year-capital deficit is not insignificant, and Council has to decide how it wants to fund projects like a firehall in the north, a new aquatics facility, additional ice rinks, and an expanded Red Willow Trail system. We have to budget for growth while still maintaining our current assets, like roads and buildings. This agenda item is a presentation about our current strategy, The Capital Funding Formula (CFF), “a budgeting strategy that the City has used for several years where a fixed amount is allocated from the annual municipal budget for capital spending purposes…” Unfortunately, this fixed amount is not keeping pace with growth or costs. To ensure that we can continue to provide the services that residents expect, we’ll have to find alternatives to some of our current revenue systems or make decisions about reducing service levels.
Services & Service Level Inventory
Services (RCMP, road maintenance, transit, community events, waste management, parks, recreation facilities, etc.) form everything that we use as residents, and pay for as taxpayers. "Service level is a statement that tells clients what level of service they are to receive," like for snow removal ( St. Albert Trail, within 8 hrs. after a snow event, plowed and sanded after 2-5 cm of snow accumulation), Business Licensing (payments are available online & we respond to all inquiries within one business day), Traffic (for emergent safety issues, response time is one hour), boulevard grass mowing (1X/2 weeks)... This is an opportunity for Council to review and ask questions of the entire list of municipal services & service levels. There are a lot of items listed in this year’s document that aren’t permanent services (like the $100,000/year Amplify festival or the Rental Assistance Program that is funded through a provincial grant), so I have a few questions about what constitutes a service level.
This is a brief high-level overview of highlights from our meeting agenda, 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 (1pm 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.