City Council Update: February 13, 2015

There are no Council meetings scheduled for next week. The next Committee meetings will take place during the week of February 23-27, with the next Public Hearing scheduled for March 2.

City Council Swearing In 2013-2017

Here’s what happened at the Public Hearing that took place on Monday.

  • Bylaw 17062 was referred back to Administration for further consultation, to return to Executive Committee on March 10.
  • All other bylaws (except one) unanimously passed third reading (Councillor Loken was absent).

There was one contentious issue though, and that was with Bylaw 17011 which was the adoption of The Decoteau Area Structure Plan (which I wrote about here). With a 6-5 vote (as both Councillor Loken and Councillor Henderson were absent for this one) the following motion was carried:

That Bylaw 17011 be referred back to Administration to work with the proponents outlining the following:

  1. Density: review increasing the net residential density of the proposed Area Structure Plan
  2. Business Employment: review increasing the Business Employment designation within the Area Structure Plan area as it gives direction to the intensity of use in the future Neighbourhood Structure Plan’s
  3. Wetland and Natural Areas: review the mapping and wording within the Area Structure Plan as it gives direction to the next stage of planning for Neighbourhood Structure Plan’s

and return to the March 16, 2015, City Council Public Hearing.

Here’s what the proposed ASP says about net residential density currently:

Residential densities within the Decoteau ASP range from 25 units per net residential hectare (upnrh) to 225 upnrh. The lower range of 25 upnrh will be developed as single/semi-detached housing. The higher range of 225 upnrh will be developed as high density residential, also referred to as medium to high rise units.

And it does make mention of the Capital Region Board targets:

Decoteau is located in the Capital Region Board’s Priority Growth Areas “CE” and “B”. These areas require a minimum net residential density target of 30 units per net residential hectare. The ASP exceeds this density target.

Council is looking for more, however.

Council Services Committee Meeting: February 9

One thing I missed in my last update was the Council Services Committee meeting that took place this week. Here are the draft minutes.

2014 Councillor’s Budget Update – Budget and Actual

This report provides preliminary numbers for the year ending December 31, 2014. There are two budgets to consider:

  • The common budget consists of salaries for Councillors’ and Administrative Assistants; benefits for Councillors and all office staff; and transition, severance, retirement and vehicle allowances for Councillors. It also includes common travel, parking, furniture, telephone expenses, stationery, postage and meeting supplies.
  • The ward budgets consist of personnel and expenses categories. The personnel category reflects Executive and Council Assistants’ salaries, vacation/staff replacement, transportation, and research projects. The expenses category reflects Councillors’ individual travel, training, promotional items, hosting and tickets, communications, and Edmonton Salutes.

What the report shows is that slightly less was spent than was budgeted for both the Common Budget and the Ward Budget. Nearly $70,000 was saved on the Common Budget and nearly $200,000 was saved on the Ward Budget. That means the total Councillors Office spend was $3,578,296, which is $267,383 less than the $3,845,679 that was budgeted.

2015 Common Travel Plans – Office of the Councillors

The 2015 budget for Common Travel and Training remains the same as 2014 at $79,502. This includes:

  • $19,350 for Civic Agency Travel
  • $14,680 for the annual AUMA Conference in Calgary
  • $8,541 for the annual FCM Conference in Edmonton

The report includes some detail about which Councillors are travelling when.

On this report, the Committee made two decisions:

  • First, they voted to allow Councillor Gibbons to submit mileage expense claims for his travel as Chair of the Alberta Industrial Heartland Committee.
  • Second, they voted to allow Councillors representing the City at meetings of intergovernmental bodies to submit “reasonable expense claims” and requested that Administration prepare an amendment to the policy to account for this.

2015 Furniture Plan – Office of the Councillors

If you’ve ever wondered how much Councillors spend on furniture, then this is the report for you! The budget for furniture in 2014 was $11,278, of which just over $9,200 was spent. The budget for 2015 is the same, and so far just $2,108 in requests have been made.

There’s a bit of IKEA in there, and there are lots of ergocentric desk chairs. I’m not sure if they mean ergonomic or if they actually mean the company ergoCentric. In 2014, the big spender was Councillor Sohi, as he installed an adjustable desk. So far in 2015, the biggest request is for two armchairs for Councillor Walters’ office. UPDATE: That request has been withdrawn!

Wrap-up

You can keep track of City Council on Twitter using the #yegcc hashtag, and you can listen to or watch any Council meeting live online.