At City Hall
Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 06:00 am
Senior homeowners get tax break
St. Albert won’t have to administer the senior homeowners property tax assistance grant.
Council decided to go ahead with maintaining the program in January at their monthly standing committee on finance meeting because the province was to discontinue administration of tax rebate programs on the behalf of municipalities. The policy was brought back for their review on Monday.
Despite an increase to administer the program, council had decided to keep the program, which offers a $100 tax credit for eligible senior homeowners.
However, staff reported on Monday that the province will allow St. Albert to receive data on eligible seniors without having to create their own screening program. Seniors eligible for the Alberta Seniors Benefit is the main criteria for the local credit.
Council also decided to allow seniors who apply for the provincial tax deferral loan program to also apply for the tax credit. Earlier they had planned to disallow the grant for people using the provincial program.
Side yard sheds to be allowed
Council closed a public hearing which had previously been adjourned in November on Monday night.
The proposed amendments to the land use bylaw do two things. The first is to allow a development officer discretion when classifying land uses that don’t fit within the specified categories.
The second will permit sheds in residential side yards.
Council proceeded to pass all three readings of the bylaw.
Coun. Sheena Hughes voted against the first and third readings because she was concerned about the required setbacks for side-yard sheds. She said the setbacks, which is 1.5 metres from the principal building and 1.2 metres from the side property line, make it unlikely many can be approved without heading to the subdivision and development appeal board.
Coun. Cathy Heron said while she’d support the motion, she was looking forward to the rewrite of the land use bylaw.
“I really don’t like these Band-Aid approaches to our land use bylaw,” she said.
Council wants civic space committee
Rather than rescind a previous motion establishing the civic space capacity committee, council re-worded the terms of reference to try and avoid conflicts of interest.
Staff had raised concerns that those who would have the technical and professional knowledge to be the public members on the committee could be local realtors and developers who might have a vested interest in applying for any contracts to provide new civic space buildings.
Instead of scrapping public participation in the committee, council opted for amending the terms of reference.
Joint infrastructure review supported
St. Albert city council gave its blessing to have administration collaborate with Sturgeon County to conduct a joint infrastructure servicing review along the northeast boundary of the city.
They also supported a grant application to the provincial government under the Alberta Regional Community Partnership program.
The recommendation came from the inter-municipal affairs committee.