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City budget deliberations continue

Debate scheduled to start Tuesday

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 07, 2013 06:00 am

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St. Albert city council budget deliberations continued this week as councillors get ready to start making their funding decisions.

Presentations on Tuesday covered strategic services, human resources, information technology, legislative services, the city manager’s office, legal services, purchasing, Build St. Albert and economic development.

Thursday saw presentations from the engineering and planning and development departments, and provided councillors an opportunity to ask questions about the municipal growth capital budget and the utility growth capital budget.

Some topics of interest to council included a request to add a communication technology analyst, administrative funds requested to administer the capital partnership program and a proposed study on Internet alternatives in business parks.

There are some challenges facing the planning and engineering departments, council’s committee of the whole was told Thursday.

Director of planning Carol Bergum outlined why her department’s workload will continue to go up. New area structure plans are on their way, which will lead to 14,000 new residences in the coming years, if all the plans come in as expected.

“There is growing interest in development opportunities in St. Albert which means more work in planning and development,” Bergum said.

Council was interested in the proposed basement suite grant program. Bergum said 50 interested homeowners are on a wait list to access the grants after a successful previous grant run.

Mayor Nolan Crouse wanted to know why the city should pay to do another municipal development plan when the last one was only done in 2007.

“They should last longer than five years, six years,” he said.

Bergum said the city needs to plan for the potential growth that St. Albert is facing.

The last of the presentations to council will take place Tuesday afternoon. Debate is scheduled to begin Tuesday and continue Thursday, with projected approval of the budget scheduled for Dec. 16.


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