Stabilization increase on the table
City staff have asked council members to nearly double a fund meant to cover unexpected and unbudgeted costs that come up during the year.
The city’s stabilization fund currently has a cap of two per cent of the municipal operating budget. However, financial services director Diane McMordie asked council members on Monday during a meeting of the governance, priorities and finance committee to increase that cap to 3.5 per cent. That would put the maximum value of the fund up to $5.4 million, based on the 2018 budget.
McMordie said the intent of her proposal was to creep up toward five or seven per cent, putting St. Albert more in line with other Alberta municipalities that have stabilization funds.
The fund is topped up through the city’s general surplus, but would not be replenished if there were a low or no surplus.
Some of the ways the fund has been used in past years include covering abnormal snow removal, by-elections or increased utility costs.
On Monday, McMordie said the fund has been well-utilized in the past even in years without major one-time operating expenses.
“With past history of utilization and the uncertainty surrounding the cost associated with the legalization of cannabis, an increase in this fund would be prudent,” she said.
The issue is set to come to council on Tuesday for a decision.
Two inspection recommendations move forward
City council members want a sub-committee established to review all of council’s 97 policies.
The review was suggested by George Cuff, who conducted a municipal inspection of the city last year.
On Monday, council members agreed unanimously to have city staff work on creating a sub-committee, potentially with access to an external facilitator, to review and revise council policies. Additionally, they asked for more work to be done on a recommendation to amend their strategic plan policy to state that the plan will reflect council’s direction for the city.
Both items will come back to the committee in the future, along with an updated list of recommendations showing which ones have been completed.
Mayor Cathy Heron said the prospect of a sub-committee to review council policies had come up during orientation, adding it is a recommendation she likes.
Coun. Natalie Joly said the recommendation was important and reviewing council policies would be valuable.
Policing committee conference-bound
The St. Alberta Policing Committee has decided to send five people to represent the city at an annual Alberta policing conference.
The St. Albert Policing Committee met on Thursday Feb. 8 and agreed to send three committee members and two city staff to Lacombe in April for the Alberta Association of Police Governance.
The committee approved sending Kris Wells, Dean Kurpjuweit, Al Bohachyk, St. Albert detachment commander Insp. Pamela Robinson and Dale Bendfeld, who is the general manager of community and protective services for St. Albert . The conference will take place in Lacombe on April 27 and 28.
During the next meeting the committee will review and give feedback to Insp. Pamela Robinson on the 2018-2019 Annual Policing Plan.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for March 1 at 6 p.m. at the St. Albert RCMP Detachment and is open to the public.