At City Hall
Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 06:00 am
Community library branch pitched
Representatives from the library once again pitched the idea of building a community branch library to council on Monday night.
Charmaine Brooks, chair of the library board, said they see it as the best way forward as the library thrives.
“We are evolving to meet the needs of our community,” Brooks said.
The need for more room at the library has been identified for over a decade, she said.
It should be a branch rather than replacing or expanding the St. Albert Place location because residents want the main branch to stay where it is, Brooks said.
The project charter suggests it would cost $14.1 million to build a new branch, and $650,000 to operate a year. Operating costs would start in 2018 according to the charter.
The presentation prompted a few questions from council, which included inquiries about the grants that could be applied to the project and if city staff would agree with the estimated costs.
The project charter is being submitted as part of the upcoming city budget deliberations, which includes long-term capital plans.
Public art funds approved
Council approved the withdrawal of $129,050 from the public art acquisition, maintenance and restoration fund on Monday night.
The money will be used to acquire public art this year for Riel Park, the St. Albert Business Centre and the 50+ Club.
Mayor Nolan Crouse questioned why council had to approve the withdrawal given the presence of a public art policy, but was told there are corresponding reserve policies that require council approval.
Council unanimously approved the fund withdrawal to pay for this year’s public art.
Vacant lands to face higher tax?
In 2015, city administration will bring forward guiding principles for council’s consideration that would be used to develop a bylaw or policies that would create a sub-class of the municipal residential tax rate addressing for residential lands that have been vacant for more than five years.
Such a bylaw, if approved, would place a higher tax rate on vacant lots. A report from staff said it would not result in additional tax revenue, but would shift the tax burden.
The report found there are 35 residentially-zoned lots that have been vacant for five years or more and 484 total vacant residential lots in St. Albert.
Council unanimously voted in favour of having guiding principles created for their perusal in the second quarter of 2015.