On the agenda: Operating deficits, capital spending, and another Oliver tower

· The Pulse

A public hearing will take place on Sept. 11, and city council will meet on Sept. 12 and 13. Council services committee will meet on Sept. 15.

Here are some of the key items on the agenda:

  • Administration is reporting an operating deficit of $2.7 million as of June 30 and projects a year-end deficit of $73.8 million. That's due to $43 million in salary settlements, lower than expected transit revenue, lower ATCO Gas franchise fees, and lower than expected on-street construction and maintenance revenue, among other things. The city spent $3.1 million up to June 2023 to support Albertans impacted by wildfires, for which it will seek reimbursement from the provincial Disaster Recovery Program.
    • The Edmonton Police Service is reporting a deficit of $4.2 million as of May 31, mainly due to higher overtime costs "to maintain minimum staffing." The service is projecting a year-end deficit of about $2.8 million. As of June 19, total attrition at EPS was 47 sworn members.
    • Administration projects the Financial Stabilization Reserve will finish 2023 with a balance of $135.7 million, which is above the minimum required balance of $123.5 million but is significantly below the target balance of $205.1 million. Funding new initiatives using the FSR "should be limited to those circumstances with emergent financial needs" for the remainder of the year, administration says.
    • Administration proposes creating a Community Safety and Well-Being Reserve to facilitate the allocation of $21.9 million in CSWB tax-levy funds each year.
  • Year-to-date capital expenditures total $446.5 million, with a total of $1.8 billion in spending projected by the end of 2023. That's higher than in previous years due to major projects including the Valley Line West LRT and the Yellowhead Trail Freeway Conversion. As of June 30, administration says 99.6% of capital projects are within an acceptable tolerance for budget and 82% are within an acceptable tolerance for schedule. The city expects to finish 2023 with $4.3 billion of outstanding debt, having used 86.5% of its tax-supported debt servicing limit and 67.6% of its total debt servicing limit.
  • Autograph proposes building a high-rise, mixed-use tower of up to about 23 storeys at 102 Avenue and 123 Street in Oliver, just across the street from The Mercury Block, which it also developed. Administration supports the proposal, saying the site is "well positioned for an increase in development intensity" and "will recognize and enhance the pedestrian-oriented nature of the area."
City clerks and others seated in front of a screen facing members of city council inside council chambers

This week's full city council meeting is the only one scheduled for the entire month of September. (Mack Male/Flickr)

Here are some of the other new agenda items:

  • Consolidated feedback on the revised Council Code of Conduct is now available for council's review, but is being kept private "as it includes commentary that will not be included in the bylaw." Administration is looking for direction on which, if any, amendments to prepare.
  • Several borrowing bylaws will be considered, including:
    • $5.10 million for the Blatchford District Energy Sharing System project;
    • $2.67 million for the distribution piping system of the Blatchford Renewable Energy Utility project;
    • -$3.48 million for the Stadium LRT Station Upgrade project that was replaced with GreenTRIP funding;
    • -$6.57 million for waste containers;
    • -$6.79 million for Waste Management's equipment acquisition project;
    • -$12.92 million for Waste Management's Integrated Processing and Transfer Facility Expansion project;
    • -$66.11 million for the 50 Street CPR Grade Separation project thanks to grants of $35.31 million from the Canada Community-Building Fund and $30.8 million from the Federal National Trade Corridors Fund.
  • Bylaw 20553 and Charter Bylaw 20554 would allow for the development of an indoor self-storage facility at the Edmonton Energy and Technology Park.
  • Bylaw 20278 and Charter Bylaw 20279 would allow for the development of a medium-rise multi-unit housing project at 3505 141 Street SW in Derochers. The building could have up to about six storeys, with the potential for ground-floor commercial uses.

Council will also consider several committee recommendations:

  • Two motions related to the Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy are on the table. One would direct the mayor and administration to engage with the Edmonton Police Commission on shared priorities for joint advocacy, and the other would direct administration to develop a violence prevention action plan.
  • Urban planning committee recommends that the mayor, in partnership with Smoky Lake County, write letters supporting the designation of the North Saskatchewan River as a Heritage River.
  • Executive committee recommends that an extra $355,914 collected as part of the 2022 Alley Lighting Maintenance Special Tax be applied to the 2024 Alley Lighting Maintenance Rates.
  • Executive committee recommends a one-time exemption and retroactive tax refund of $18,427.28 for Stony Plain Investments, owner of the YWCA property.
  • Urban planning committee recommends that administration review and update terms of reference for the preparation of area and neighbourhood structure plans to "adequately address greenhouse gas impacts, climate resilience, and provide the fiscal impacts of growth to increase new neighbourhood financial sustainability."
  • Utility committee recommends that council approve the location and environmental impact assessment for the Edmonton Water Treatment Plants Flood Mitigation Project.

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