From Common Sense Red Deer
‘Tis the season for budget adjustments.
At this time of year, City Councils across the province are reevaluating their budgets and setting the financial course for the coming year.
What they should be doing is taking a close look at spending and seeing where they can cut back!
But, if recent developments in Calgary and Edmonton tell us anything, that’s the complete opposite of what is actually happening.
Thanks to recently passed budget amendments, Calgarians are staring down a 7.8% tax hike, while our neighbours in Edmonton are grappling with a 6.6% property tax increase.
Thankfully, that’s not what happened in Red Deer – but only because there were no budget adjustments in Red Deer at all!
Red Deer’s budget adjustments were supposed to begin at the November 27th Council meeting.
But, that discussion has been rescheduled to January 23rd, 2024.
Apparently, Administration needs a little more time to assess how much money will actually be available at the end of 2023.
Remember that this is the second year of a multi-year budget that already had a 4.12% increase built in for 2024.
Who knows what they’ll be proposing in January?
Recently, we shared with you how successful Red Deer County has been at managing their finances.
For the eighth consecutive year, the County received the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.
They may be close by, but their commitment to transparent, accountable budgeting is a world apart.
Red Deerians deserve transparency and accountability.
It might be bad in Edmonton and Calgary, but at least they know how bad it actually is.
We have to wait and see…
We refuse to accept higher taxes without a fight.
At Common Sense Red Deer, we’ll be watching the adjustments closely and keeping you informed.
As we prepare, your support is crucial.
If you can spare $5, $10, or even $25 toward our efforts, please click here to make a donation.
Your support will power our advocacy efforts and fuel our fight to ensure Council stays focused on core priorities.
Together, we can ensure that Red Deer does not follow in the troubling footsteps set by other cities.
Let’s continue to make our voices heard, demand answers, and fight for a better, more transparent City.
-The Common Sense Red Deer Team
City Council decides to close Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site
City Council requests the Province of Alberta make changes to OPS in Red Deer
City Council made decisions (Friday) related to Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), requesting the Government of Alberta (GOA):
- formalize an orderly transition of the existing OPS out of Red Deer by the end of 2025;
- provide in its place greater harm reducing options within our community that focus on health, wellness, and recovery, including more detox capacity, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), recovery coaches, counsellors, and culturally appropriate health and wellness supports, etc.;
- provide dedicated grant funding to provide a continuous police presence/enforcement in the immediate vicinity of the OPS and temporary shelter, until the crime and social disorder impacts associated with these provincial services are better mitigated for the safety and security of our public;
- substantially increase front-line supports for mental health and addictions within our community/region to better address the root causes leading to drug and alcohol addictions.
These decisions stem from a Notice of Motion put forward by Councillor Higham on December 18, 2023. After being read into the record on January 22, 2024, a non-statutory public hearing was scheduled for yesterday, February 15, 2024. Approximately 40 members of the public attended the non-statutory public hearing, with approximately 30 individuals speaking to the Notice of Motion, sharing their thoughts on the issue.
After hearing from the public yesterday, City Council debated the motion today, with Mayor Ken Johnston now having City Council direction to take the issue forward to the province and proceed with advocacy efforts.
“The public hearing and the debate of this motion were harrowing and emotional experiences for everyone. Each of us have been touched in some way by addiction; we heard that very clearly, and I am no exception. We heard heartfelt testimony from many members of our community, citizens, some who use the OPS, some who are service providers in the community, business owners, doctors, family members that have lost loves ones, and more,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council approached this most sensitive of issues with open minds, open ears, and open hearts. We are trying to improve lives for those suffering from addiction. This is a complex challenge, as these are areas where municipalities do not have jurisdiction. What we know is that Red Deer needs robust support from the provincial government for people with addictions; we need support for our community that is grappling with the fallout of addictions; and we need that support in the most immediate way.”
Mayor Johnston added, “Following this meeting, I will reach out to the Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health to book meetings where we can discuss how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”
Currently the OPS is located 5246 53 Avenue in downtown Red Deer.
City Council approves E-scooters permanently after 3 year pilot
E-Scooter Pilot Program update
- Council approved E-scooters as a permanent transportation option in Red Deer, following a three-season pilot program that ended in October. No changes to the program were proposed, as bylaw amendments to the Business Licence Bylaw and Traffic Bylaw were completed as part of the pilot program.
- Benefits to allowing E-scooter companies to operate in Red Deer include alignment with City of Red Deer strategies such as the Multimodal Transportation Plan and all three focus areas of City Council’s current Strategic Plan – Thriving City, Community Health and Wellbeing, and Engaged and Connected City.
- In 2023, 100,909 rides were taken on E-scooters. The average distance traveled per ride was 3.35 km and the average ride time was 18.2 minutes. Riders are required to be a minimum of 16 years old and are advised to wear a helmet.
- The 2024 E-scooter season begins March 15. Learn more: reddeer.ca/escooters
Similar to car and bike sharing technology, shared e-scooters will be GPS-enabled and can be rented using each company’s smartphone app. A shared e-scooter can be parked in a designated drop zone that is not impeding pedestrian traffic. It is then available for the next customer, who will be able to locate it and begin the rental using an application on their phone.
To ride an e-scooter in Red Deer you must be 16 years of age or older. A child or any other person cannot be a passenger on a shared e-scooter. They are intended for one rider.
Helmets are not required, but are strongly encouraged.
The max speed limit is 20 km per hour with some higher traffic areas reduced to 5-10 km per hour.
E-Scooters can be parked on city sidewalks, in City parks and adjacent pathways, subject to all Federal, Provincial and City Legislation. All parked e-scooters must remain in an upright position with all wheels in contact with the ground.
E-Scooters will be parked in a Furniture Zone and must not be parked in a way that does not obstruct or interfere with the Sidewalk Zone or Edge Zone at any time.
In the absence of a Furniture Zone, e-scooters must not be parked in a way that impedes pedestrians moving through the Sidewalk Zone to access any buildings. E-scooters must be parked next to the edge zone leaving at least 2.0 metres of sidewalk zone unobstructed for pedestrian movements. E-scooters must not be parked where these minimum distance requirements cannot be met, and parked in the upright, standing position, with all wheels in contact with the ground.
- Pedestrians first– Always yield to, and be mindful of people walking on sidewalks.
- Be considerate– Use the bell to alert others when passing on the sidewalk or pathway.
- Rider safety rules – Shared e-scooters are available to riders aged 16+. Helmets are encouraged but not required. Maximum speed limit is 20 km / hr. Only one rider per e-scooter is allowed.
- Park responsibly– Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as furniture zones of sidewalks, public bike racks and other marked parking zones. On sidewalks without furniture zones, give at least two meters of clearance for accessibility.
- Right and report– If you see a shared e-scooter toppled over or parked improperly, help out by righting the shared e-scooter or reporting the issue. Contact info for each company is provided on each shared e-scooter.
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