From The City of Red Deer
2020 Operating Budget approved with direction for further reductions
After five days of deliberations, City Council approved a $389 million Operating Budget, reducing the proposed 2.49 per cent tax increase to 1.26 per cent with direction to identify further savings to reduce to 0.97 per cent.
To achieve the reduced tax rate, Council directed administration to identify an additional $400,000 in cost savings by the end of February.
“Our goal is to always keep the budget and cost of living in Red Deer as affordable as possible withoutcompromising our ability to provide quality services to our citizens,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Administration met Council’s guidelines set in the spring, but with the continued economic recession, we need to find further savings which will result in a significantly reduced budget than we were originally expecting.”
To make the initial reductions to the proposed tax rate during deliberations, Council approved approximately $2.1 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies. These savings included eliminating a $500,000 transfer from operating to the operating reserve tax supported fund, as well as reducing the proposed 2020 capital contribution from one per cent to 0.5 per cent at a value of $682,000.
“In response to the economy, we have frozen staffing levels in 2020, with the exception of policing to address community safety challenges,” said Mayor Veer.
“Much like the Capital Budget, the Operating Budget is focused on maintaining current service levels. Cost savings were achieved where possible and we are able to honour previous commitments focusing on community safety by maintaining the added member complement in the RCMP,” said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “Council provided direction to administration to find an additional reduction of $400,000, and we’ll take the next six weeks to comb through the budget to identify further cost savings while minimizing impacts on our citizens and staff.”
Administration will bring a report back to Council at the end of February outlining the additional cost savings, giving time for the Tax Rate Bylaw to be adopted in April. The municipal tax rate will then be combined with the provincial education tax requisition and the requisition for the Piper Creek Foundation to determine how much property tax residents will pay.
For a home valued at $325,000, a homeowner will pay $2,338.09 in the municipal portion of their taxes based on a 0.97 per cent increase. This works out to an increase of $22.46 per year or $1.87 per month.
Residents can find out more about the 2020 Operating Budget by visiting The City’s website atwww.reddeer.ca/budget.City
Residential plowing continues in North Red Deer Monday and Tuesday. Check here for your neighbourhood.
|A||Kentwood, Johnstone||Snow Zone A – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|B||Glendale, Normandeau, Pines||Snow Zone B – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|C||Fairview, Highland Green, Oriole Park, Riverside Meadows||Snow Zone C – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|E||Clearview, Garden Heights, Michener Hill, Parkvale, Waskasoo, Woodlea||Snow Zone E – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|F||Deer Park (north of 39 St), Rosedale, Timberlands||Snow Zone F – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|G||Bower, South Hill, West Park||Snow Zone G – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|H||Eastview, Grandview, Morrisroe, Mountview||Snow Zone H – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|I||Anders, Sunnybrook (north)||Snow Zone I – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|J||Deer Park (south of 39 St), Lancaster||Snow Zone J – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|K||Inglewood, Sunnybrook (south)/Southbrook, Vanier||Snow Zone K – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
|O||Evergreen||Snow Zone O – Residential Routes Map (pdf)|
The current schedule for residential snow clearing is as follows:
Residents are encouraged to watch for no-parking signs on Green Routes and at the entrance to their neighbourhoods for Grey Routes and to sign up for Snow Zone notices at www.reddeer.ca/notifyreddeer to get text, email or phone call reminders before they need to move their vehicles off the street.
“We ask that citizens move their vehicles to make way for plows and equipment as this enables crews to move through neighbourhoods quickly,” said Halldorson.
Parking restrictions are in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily while plowing is scheduled, and vehicles left on the street will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.
The City of Red Deer has a priority-based snow and ice control program with specific triggers to indicate when, where and how plowing and sanding should take place across the city. There are many different types of roads, sidewalks and paths throughout the city that serve different purposes. The overall goal is to plow sooner, quicker and more often, within the budget provided.
Residents are encouraged to contact Parks & Public Works at 403-342-8238 to report streets in need of attention.
The rich and sobering history of Red Deer’s “Unknown Soldier”
The origins of Red Deer’s beautiful Cenotaph date back to the end of WWI. The statue of the Unknown Soldier is a provincial historic site. In this article, historian and author Michael Dawe helps us understand the rich history of this monument and reminds us all of the sacrifices of our forebearers. Enjoy the photo gallery showing the changes to the Cenotaph and its surroundings over the years.
The Cenotaph by Michael Dawe (originally published Nov. 9, 2019)
There are many memorials around the City of Red Deer to honour those who served and those who lost their lives during a time of war. The main community memorial is the Cenotaph, the statue of the Unknown Soldier that stands in the centre of Ross Street in the heart of downtown Red Deer.
The origins of the Cenotaph go back to the end of the First World War. That conflict had been a searing experience for Red Deer. 850 young men and women from the City and surrounding districts had enlisted. Of these, 118 lost their lives. Of those who returned, many had suffered terrible wounds and faced a lifetime of ill health and suffering. Hence, it was extremely important to the community that a fitting and very special memorial be created.
On December 18, 1918, five weeks after the end of the War, the Central Alberta local of the Great War Veterans Association (forerunner of the Royal Canadian Legion) organized a large public meeting to discuss the creation of such a memorial. Three proposals were initially made. The first was to construct a pyramidal monument of river cobblestones in the centre of the City. The second was to construct a community hall and recreation facility next to City Hall. The third was to purchase the old Alexandra (Park) Hotel and turn it into a community centre.
After considerable discussion, a fourth proposal was adopted. It was decided to build a monument rather than a community centre. However, at the suggestion of Lochlan MacLean, it was also decided that this monument be in the form of a statue of a soldier, mounted on a pedestal, rather than a cobblestone pyramid or obelisk.
Major Frank Norbury, an architectural sculptor at the University of Alberta and a veteran of the War, was commissioned to carve the statue. He came up with the concept of carving the Unknown Soldier as he was coming off active duty on the front line. He was to face west, toward home and peace. He was also to be positioned towards the C.P.R. station from which most of the soldiers had left Red Deer for the War.
This latter point was one of the greatest controversies about the Cenotaph. City Council and a few others wanted it in the centre of the City Square (now City Hall Park). However, the majority wanted it facing directly towards the station and in the middle of Ross Street, Red Deer’s busiest thoroughfare, so that it would be a constant reminder of the sacrifices of the War.
Meanwhile, fundraising for the project commenced, but proved quite a challenge. Post-war Red Deer faced one of the worst economic depressions in its history. However, despite the general shortage of money, by the following summer more than half of the $6200 needed had been raised. Unfortunately, Red Deer City Council decided that given its financial situation, it could not contribute any money to the project. This decision reinforced the opinion of the Memorial Committee that Council’s wish to have the Cenotaph in the middle of the City Square should be ignored.
There were still a lot of hard feelings about that lack of official City participation. Eventually, City Council agreed to build a boulevard in the middle of Ross Street, west of 49 Avenue, as a site for the Cenotaph. A decision was also made to place street lights at either end of that boulevard to provide nighttime illumination of the spot.
There was another debate regarding the proper means of recording the names of those killed in the War. Some wanted tablets placed on the pedestal. However, the Memorial Committee was worried about having a complete and accurate list. Finally, it was agreed to have two scrolls prepared, one with the names of those who had served and one with the names of those who had lost their lives. Both scrolls were put into a copper tube and placed in a cavity in the pedestal.
On September 15, 1922, the Cenotaph was officially unveiled. To the delight of the community, Governor General Lord Byng of Vimy agreed to come and do the honours. Lord Byng was a hero of one of Canada’s most significant military victories, the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Vimy was also a victory that had also come with very heavy loss of life, both locally and nationally.
At the time of the official unveiling, it was reported that the Cenotaph was the first sculpture war memorial in Alberta. Once the official dedication was completed, the monument was placed into trust with the City on behalf of those who had contributed to its creation.
The Cenotaph was rededicated in 1949 to include remembrance of those who served and lost their lives in the Second World War. A plaque signifying that designation was added to the pedestal. After the completion of the new City Hall Park and the Memorial Centre in the early 1950’s. there was a push to relocate the Cenotaph from its location on Ross Street to either the centre of City Hall Park or a new site in front of the Memorial Centre. However, a plebiscite was held in 1953 in which the citizens of Red Deer voted to keep the Cenotaph were it was.
Another plaque was added in 1988 in memory of those who served and died in the Korean Conflict. At the same time, through the efforts of some dedicated members of the public, special lighting was added to ensure that the Cenotaph was highly visible at night.
There were new proposals in the 1990’s to relocate the Cenotaph to City Hall Park. However, Charlie Mac Lean, son of Lochlan MacLean and one of the last surviving people to have actually built the Cenotaph, offered the opinion that he did not think that the monument could be safely relocated.
In 2006, the Cenotaph was extensively cleaned and repaired. City Council then successfully applied to have the Cenotaph designated as a Provincial Historic Site. In 2010-2011, a beautiful Veterans’ Park was created around the Cenotaph, to enhance it and to make it more accessible to the public. Moreover, eight interpretive panels were created to let people know the full significance of Red Deer’s official war memorial. They give the stories of those who served in the Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Korean Conflict, the Afghanistan War and all the peace-keeping and peace-making missions in which Canadians have been involved.
Lest We Forget.
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