This is my first post after being out of the city for a while on a short summer vacation. I did manage to squeeze in the "council related activity" I mentioned and I'll be posting pictures soon.
Today is a "Council Monday" so we will have our full regular meeting tonight at 7pm. I was going to post the agenda for that but it doesn't seem to be online this morning. So, in it's place I'm getting a little head start on the week and posting the Agenda for the General Government Services committee meeting that will happen on Wednesday.
The names you see below the agenda items are the staff members who are presenting the report on that item. My quick comments are in italics.
1. Refund of Property Tax
S. Smith, Assessor
It doesn't happen very often but occasionally the city's tax assessment department does make mistakes. In this instance there was an error in the square footage calculation of a property that resulted in the owner being over billed. Since 2004 they've been paying more in taxes they they should have. City staff are recommending that we refund the total amount of the over billing, $10,542.15
2. Bill 202 Municipal Government Act
J. Ferguson, Legislative Services Manager
This bill from the province calls for the creation of a Municipal Auditor. Not a bad idea but 1) it has the potential to create a lot of additional work for municipalities and 2) the Minister of Municipal Affairs already had the power to order municipalities to under go an audit.
Along with Bill 203 I think it's an example of a private member's bill that addresses a perceived problem rather than an actual one. Both pieces of legislation have their good points but I think they went ahead without a lot of research being done. For example I don't think either AUMA or AAMD&C (the organizations representing Alberta municipalities) were consulted in the creation of these. Janette is bringing this bill to council's attention (I first heard of it this spring on Twitter) and I imagine that the committee will ask for a report on how this will impact the city. We may also take a position forward to AUMA asking them to lobby the province for changes. Looking on Twitter I just noticed that the Province is asking for public input on the Bill, I imagine we'll as staff to prepare a submission.
On a somewhat related note; I think it's odd the province wants to create more auditor positions when they don't even fund the one they already have.
3. Customer Satisfaction Survey
D. Olinger, Marketing Communications Manager
This report formalizes the process of doing Customer Satisfaction survey's in the city every 2 years. The next one would be in March of 2011. Having it then will allow the new council (elected in October of 2010) to use the input from residents as they build their strategic plan in the spring of that year and the 3 year budget in the fall. It's a great feedback loop that will ensure that the views of residents are reflected in the city's business planning process.
4.1. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, re: Government of Alberta Response to FISC Recommendations on Forest Industry Competitiveness
4.2. R. Danyluk, Minister, Alberta Municipal Affairs re: Unconditional Municipal Grant
This is an annual grant, and it's one of the few that comes without strings attached, like saying it has to be used by a certain time, or for a certain type of project or service. The total amount of the grant this year is $592,188 or approximately 0.00422 % of our yearly budget.
4.3. Town of Grande Cache, re: Invitation to Grande Cache’s 40th Anniversary
Congratulations Grande Cache!
In this letter they are inviting the Mayor to attend to help celebrate at their Opening Ceremonies on Friday September 4th. The weekend of the 4th to the 7th the Town will be hosing a Homecoming celebration for everyone who ever lived in Grande Cache - mark it on your calendar!
5. Other Business