Coming up at council: Dec. 5-9, 2022

Coming up at council: Dec. 5-9, 2022

· The Pulse

Though the budget will again be the focus this week, city council does have some other items to address at its meeting on Monday and at public hearing on Tuesday. There will also be an audit committee meeting on Tuesday before city council resumes its budget deliberations on Wednesday and Friday.

Key agenda items include the following:

  • As of Sept. 30, the city is projecting a surplus of about $68 million for 2022, mainly due to unfilled vacancies, delayed grant payments, increased transit revenue, and lower-than-expected costs for DATS and LRT operations. Snow and ice control costs were $12 million higher than expected due to heavier snowfall and additional freezing rain from January to April.
  • The Edmonton Police Service is projecting it will underspend by $2.041 million by year-end, a significant turnaround from its May 31 update that projected an overspend of $2.499 million. Still, thanks to an existing operating reserve deficit of $2.895 million, EPS is projected to finish the year with a deficit of $854,000. Council will hear about the plan to pay down the deficit within three years, though the details are being kept private.
  • Edmonton's 13 business improvement areas (BIAs) will present their 2023 budgets for council approval, totalling about $4 million required from BIA tax levies. The Downtown Business Association maintains the largest budget, with about $1.5 million coming from BIA tax levies, while the Beverly Business Association has the smallest budget, with about $116,000 coming from BIA tax levies. Appointments to the boards of directors for the BIAs are also ready for council approval.

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • The capital budget spend for 2022 is projected to be significantly higher than in the last five years, at more than $1.6 billion (though a portion of that is expected to be carried forward to 2023). As of Sept. 30, the city has spent about 63% of budgeted capital expenditures for the 2019-2022 capital budget, about the same as the 65% it had spent by the same time during the 2015-2018 budget period.
  • KPMG has provided its audit planning report for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022, which aims to wrap up the external audit by March 31, 2023, with a presentation to council to follow in the spring.
  • The office of the city auditor has provided its work plan for 2023, which includes audits of waste collection services, the city's response to 311 requests, the dedicated accessible transit service (DATS), the Blatchford development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, among others. The associated operating budget is also ready for council approval, with a proposed spend of about $3 million per year, 88% of which is for salaries.
  • There are 17 recommendations from the city auditor outstanding, one of which is overdue. Administration says the recommended IT project on disaster recovery planning is now expected to be fully implemented by June 30, 2023.
  • The proposed rezoning application for two seven-storey residential buildings in McKernan at 114 Street and 78 Avenue is coming back to public hearing with changes made to address concerns over the 114 Street greenway.
  • Bylaws 20323 and 20324 will allow for future LRT alignment and mixed uses around Heritage Valley Town Centre.
  • Bylaw 20346 would allow for a high-rise residential building in Oliver at 10135 118 Street NW with 110 units. If approved, the new zoning would remove the 11 family-oriented units required by the existing zoning.
  • Bylaws 20318 and 20319 will adjust the boundaries of the River's Edge and White Birch neighbourhood structure plans to allow for the continued development of the neighbourhood. The Riverview area structure plan would be amended to reduce the number of neighbourhoods from five to four.
  • At public hearing, city council will also consider rezoning applications for infill in Jasper Place, Glenwood, Grovenor, West Jasper Place, and more.

Council will also deal with several items postponed from previous meetings, including an audit of the governance of Fort Edmonton Park and an audit of enforcement services management and support.

Meetings are streamed live on YouTube on the Chamber channel and River Valley Room channel.

Photo: Though holiday decorations are appearing around city hall, there's plenty of budget work still to be done before the end of the year. (Mack Male/Flickr)