Red Deer landfill hours to be cut

A reduction in the hours at Red Deer’s landfill is one of the few service reductions suggested in the 2013 operating budget.

A reduction in the hours at Red Deer’s landfill is one of the few service reductions suggested in the 2013 operating budget.

On the third day of the $284-million budget deliberations, city council agreed to close the landfill at 6:30 p.m. an hour earlier in the summer months to save $55,000 a year.

A vote of 5-4 was the closest in the dozen or so items debated during the four-hour council debate.

Councillors Cindy Jefferies, Frank Wong, Buck Buchanan, Lynne Mulder, Tara Veer and Mayor Morris Flewwelling supported cutting the hours.

“I think if there are 10 to 15 people showing up at this time to use the service if we nudge them to an earlier hour it would save a substantial amount of money over the course of the year,” said Coun. Cindy Jefferies. “Sometimes we have to make those tough decisions. Some times we try to reduce lane swimming and to me that would be more important than an hour at the landfill.”

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes did not support the change in service because she said the city prides itself on providing service and she expects there will be pushback from the community.

Coun. Chris Stephan said the landfill is a self-supporting utility and in the end it is not a cost-saving he thought was worth the reduction.

“We know it is used in that hour,” said Stephan. “It may not be the highest used but I am sure we will hear from some of the people who it will affect.”

Stephan said council is looking at its waste management as a whole and there are probably some inefficiencies that can be looked at and there could be more cost savings in the future that does not reduce operational hours.

Council moved quickly through the City Manager, Corporate Services, Development Services and Planning Services budget items.

There were no major changes to the draft budget except for a $5,000 reduction to funding requested by the Red Deer Airport. Administration recommended the one-time funding of $190,550 but council voted to reduce the funding to keep it in line with what council has paid in previous years.

Veer said it’s important to continue to support the airport on one-time funding because of the overall goal of financial sustainablity and independence of the airport.

“I don’t think we’re there yet so we do have to continue to make some provisions,” said Veer.

Some of the initiatives surrounding the downtown were discussed including the feedback on the Ross Street Patio. In the coming months, council may decide to extend the summer time patio experiment to a year-long project.

Veer said she was pleased with the first day of debate. Veer, who is a third-term councillor, said council has to be cautious and mindful of the bigger picture when going through the budget.

“This budget does see some increases in user fees and charges,” said Veer. “I think we often have to be innovative and creative in how we budget and not just rely on user fee increases and tax increases because that is an easy route for us to take.”

Veer said council has to be careful they are not putting future councils in a position where service level are not sustainable.

The budget as it stands projects a 3.91 property tax increase and a 6.5 per cent jump in Electric Light and Power rates. Among the increases are the wastewater rates which may rise to 3.1 per cent and water rates that may rise 3.2 per cent ($2 per tonne increase). Garbage and yard waste collection may go up 1.3 per cent for residential and 5. 2 per cent for multi-family and commercial users. The rate increases will come back to council for a bylaw change once the operating budget is approved.

City council will enter into day four of the budget deliberations on Thursday. Staffing for policing is expected to be a highly debated item.

Other Day 3 budget line items:

• Hiring of a Riverlands Project Manager ($76,000 in 2013; $83,000 in 2014 and $12,000 in 2015) was widely supported by councillors. Coun. Paul Harris said this was a big leap forward in developing the area west of Gaetz Avenue. City Manger Craig Curtis said it was key to the planning and economic future of the city.

• Introduction of a 24/7 Communications phone line that would allow the city to be more connected with residents in event of an emergency. The price tag on the service is $11,000. One person will be on standby to update social media sites including Facebook and Twitter and to send out media releases.

• Visitors to city hall will no longer be offered pop and juice in the meeting rooms. Council agreed to eliminate the drinks for a cost savings of $3,000.

• The Collicutt Centre’s east and west soccer turf will be upgraded a year sooner. City council agreed to amend the 2013 Capital Budget by $111,000 for a total of $211,000 with funds to come from the Capital Projects Reserve fund.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Toronto Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez (37) hits a single to drive in two runs against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Grichuk drives in 5, Jays beat A’s 10-4 for series split

Canada's Sports Hall of Fame 2019 inductee Jayna Hefford speaks in Toronto on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Three Canadian teams to play in women’s hockey Dream Gap Tour in Calgary

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Rugby Canada says some members of women’s sevens team have tested positive for COVID

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, centre, makes a shot as lead Briane Meilleur, left, and second Shannon Birchard sweep against Denmark at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, May 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

Einarson’s five-game win streak ends with loss to Japan at world curling playdowns

FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Canadian athletes, coaches applaud news of vaccine doses ahead of Tokyo

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

Most Read