Council Meeting: St. Patrick’s Day 2014

Council Meeting: St. Patrick’s Day 2014

As always, we have another full Agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting. I’ve outlined some of the highlights below. For the full agenda, please click here.

St. Albert Public Library Facility ReportThe Board Chair will be presenting the results of their recently completed Feasibility Study to Council. The report outlines a number of options including expanding at St. Albert Place, the creation of a new Branch Library or the construction of a new Central Library. (SPOILER ALERT: The recommendation is to pursue the Branch Option).

Year End Financial Position and ReservesThe Standing Committee on Finance has recommended applying the City’s 2013 Operating Surplus as follows: $469,527 to the Stabilization Reserve and $620,142 to the Utility Reserve. The original motion at the Standing Committee on Finance had the $620,142 going towards reducing the 2014 tax rate (which currently sits at around 1.5%). Doing so would likely lead to a higher than normal increase in 2015 as the $620,142 would not be available in 2015 as it was a one-time surplus. The net taxes paid would still be lower over the two years, but the percentage increase in 2015 would be high. I’d be interested in hearing what people think about this. Would you be okay with a larger percentage increase in 2015 if it meant that the total taxes you paid over the 2014 and 2015 years was less in total?

Nominating Committee RecommendationsThat Councillor Prefontaine and Councillor Heron be appointed to the SMART City Master Plan Steering Committee with Councillor Brodhead as Alternate.  That Mayor Crouse and Councillor Brodhead be appointed to the Community Sustainability Committee with Councillor Prefontaine as Alternate. If you’re wondering, I did not put my name forward for either Committee as I expect to be quite busy as the Chair of the Safe Journeys to School Project.

Seniors Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Grant: Passage of the recommendations would allow for the continuance of the Senior Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Grant program in 2014. The Senior Homeowner’s Property Tax Assistance Grant is an existing grant program that has been in place in St. Albert since 2009. It provides an annual $100 grant to eligible low-income seniors, who fit the following criteria:

  • Must own their home;
  • Must be Alberta residents;
  • Must be 65 or older; and
  • Must be eligible for the provincial Alberta Seniors Benefit program.

Civic Space Plan UpdateAdministration is recommending that a Civic Space Capacity Committee not be formed at this time as previously had been planned. The need for additional civic space has been studied and discussed extensively for many years. To prepare for the anticipated need for additional office space, Capital Project Charter COMF-002, titled “New Civic Building” was developed. It is included within the City’s 10 Year Capital Plan with design planned in 2021 and construction to follow in 2022 and 2023. Currently, the Civic Building shows up as “Unfunded.”

servicingSt. Albert/Sturgeon County Joint Infrastructure ReviewThis report brings forward a recommendation from the Intermunicipal Affairs Committee to participate in a joint infrastructure servicing review in areas adjacent to St. Albert’s northeast boundary (with consideration to other areas that may impact this quadrant). This has the potential to both clarify future infrastructure servicing requirements in the area (type, sizing, orientation, funding models, etc.) and reduce future costs for both the City of St. Albert and Sturgeon County. St. Albert would partner with Sturgeon County to conduct the joint review, and the project would be submitted for funding through a provincial grant program.

2013 Off-Site Levy Request for Front Ending ReimbursementAdministration is requesting the disbursement of all off-site levies collected in 2013 towards the front-ending done to date by the City of St. Albert and Landrex Hunter Ridge Inc.. Off-site levies are an approved mechanism under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that allow a municipality to collect all or some of the capital dollars needed to construct new infrastructure that is required to support growth. In many cases, the Developer or the Municipality will fully “front-end” or pay for the costs of the entire infrastructure project upfront and collect any monies owing from other Developers as development occurs.

Council Motions

Capital Envelope PolicyMayor Crouse has moved “That Council direct Administration to propose a Capital Envelope Policy to be reviewed on or before the October 14, 2014 Standing Committee on Finance meeting.”

School Site Allocation Committee: Councillor Hughes has moved “That Council terminate the current School Site Allocation Agreement effective August 31, 2014, and notify the three school boards of this decision prior to April 1, 2014; and that a new agreement is drafted for Council’s approval by August 31, 2014 that reflects the results of the School Site Allocation Committee Review and which has been supported in principle by the three school boards.”

Appointment to Concerto Network: Councillor Heron has moved “That Councillor Prefontaine be the City of St. Albert’s elected representative/champion of the Concerto Network.” The Concerto Network is an economic development initiative aimed at reaching out to and engaging with the Francophone Community.

Grit Interceptor Art Funding Source: Councillor Hughes has moved “That the additional costs of $22,000 required to put art on each future grit interceptor come from the art acquisition fund. And that the $22,000 required for art on the grit interceptor installed near Perron Street be replenished back into the utility reserves from the art acquisition fund.”

So those are the highlights for tomorrow’s Agenda. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions or share your thoughts on any of the proposed Agenda items.

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