Mayor brings out budget axe
Proposed motions would save approximately $1.2 million
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Nov 17, 2012 06:00 am
Mayor Nolan Crouse is seeking to slash more than $1 million from the city budget by introducing a raft of motions that council will debate toward the end of their budget deliberations.
Among Crouse’s motions are cuts to services and institutions such as the farmers’ market park and ride, the library, the housing society and Arts and Heritage St. Albert.
City manager Patrick Draper had asked council to file as many motions as possible by Friday. They will all be voted on at the end of budget deliberations.
In total, roughly 17 motions proposed by Crouse would axe $1.21 million from the proposed 2013 budget. The budget calls for a 2.32 per cent increase to its base and another 2.82 per cent for 38 proposals for new funding for a total of 5.14 per cent.
The “magic number” to reduce or increase taxes by one per cent is approximately $775,000, meaning Crouse’s motions, if all passed, would cut the proposed increase by about 1.5 per cent, bringing it to 3.64 per cent.
Crouse told the St. Albert Gazette last month in an editorial board meeting he had a limit of three per cent in the back of his mind.
“I’ve been looking for a couple of million, a million and a half, to figure out how to move us down to three per cent, and I’ll rely on some council members to introduce some things as well,” Crouse said.
Among the motions Crouse will present to council include eliminating funding for park and ride service to the farmers’ market, a weekly event organized by the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce. Providing park and ride service costs the city $12,000 annually. Crouse said he is confident that, after talking about parking with the owner of Grandin Park Plaza, there is now enough parking for visitors.
“Whether it’s NABI or the school sites, there are many more options today that didn’t exist when we started the park and ride. The chamber has put up an electronic sign; they have a revenue stream we didn’t have a few years ago,” he said.
Crouse also wants to shave three per cent from the library’s budget, reducing it by $40,500, slice arts and heritage funding by $32,800 to unfund its downtown satellite studio and move the housing society into what will be the vacated business and tourism office, eliminating another $12,000.
“I don’t think some of these things are necessary,” Crouse said.
The mayor is looking to delay several projects, including funding for a Capital Region Board planner, and transit service on statutory holidays, pending completion of transit’s long-term department plan.
“It was having a critical eye to the budget,” Crouse said.