Council has a very busy schedule in the coming week. But before I get to that, how about a little ...
The library has its fundraising gala this coming Friday (November 18) at 7:30 pm. I hear from board members that there are some wonderful auction items. Tickets ($25) are available from board members and at the library. It’s a great opportunity to see all your friends, brighten up a November evening and support the library, so I hope to see you there.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR INPUT
Parks planning forum
This week is the annual Parks Canada planning forum.
Wednesday evening at 7 pm, you can join the Banff superintendents for their “open mike” Q & A session (Harkin Hall at the Admin Building). They’ll be providing some background on what’s gone on in the park this year, and answering any park-related questions from the audience.
Thursday from 8:30 am to 4 pm (203 Kinnear building at The Banff Centre) will be the round table section of the planning forum. This year’s areas of concentration are winter activities and trails. There will be lots of opportunities for all those present to get involved in the small-group sessions.
Off-leash dog park
Go to www.banff.ca and click on the link from the home page to fill out a survey about off-leash dog park options. Whether you’re a dog owner or not, this is an opportunity to comment on a project that may show up on the capital budget in the near future.
MONDAY’S FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
Monday from 10 to noon, council will be meeting as the Finance Committee. This is an open public meeting and – as always – you are very welcome to attend. You can see the agenda package here:
Pre-planning for the audit
The Town’s auditors (KPMG) will present their plan for how the Town’s audit will be carried out at the end of this year. The audit process is very important, not just because of the double-check on the accuracy of our reporting, but also because the auditors point out any improvements we can make in our financial tracking and reporting systems.
Third quarter results and forecast
Starting on page 4 of the package, you can see the town’s third-quarter financial results and the forecasting to year-end. The short version is that staff is predicting that the Town, overall, will be right on budget at year-end, which is excellent news.
Drilling down into the detail, you’ll see quite a bit of movement up and down in various areas. For example, the Town has had to transfer $256K out of the budget stabilization reserve to offset the decrease in provincial funding for our police services. Council chose to transfer $90K out of the budget stabilization reserve in order to do the tree replacements on Banff Ave all at once. Transfers to capital reserves in sewer and water are down because the consumption of water was less than we expected. The town has saved more on the wages and benefits line than council had asked for, but this extra saving has been offset by over-budget expenditures in other areas. On each page, notes at the bottom explain the reasons for items being over or under budget.
MONDAY’S COUNCIL MEETING
Council meets Monday at 2 pm – you’re very welcome to come and listen in! You can see the full agenda package at this link: http://www.banff.ca/Assets/PDFs/Town+Hall+PDF/Council+Agendas+PDF/2011+Agendas+PDF/council-agenda-111114.pdf
Here are some highlights from the agenda:
Council 2012 priorities
Every year, council highlights some key items that we’d like to concentrate on (while, of course, keeping all the other balls in the air as well!). The 2012 priorities are coming to council for approval on Monday. You can read the detail in the report that starts on page 8 of the package, but the short-form list is:
• Sustainable transportation (updating the transportation plan, working to ease congestion and reduce emissions)
• Phase 2 and 3 of the Land Use Bylaw
• Supporting the Competitive Initiative (this is the plan to focus on student travel, regional conferences, winter animation, etc)
• Seeking resort community status (the attempt to deal with our unique financial challenges through different funding approaches)
• And (yay!) urban forest management (continued implementation of the forest renewal plan)
Buying the Spirit Bear
Michale Lang is bringing a proposal that the Town should partner with the Whyte to permanently acquire the new bear sculpture that’s in front of the Whyte. The Whyte has already put together $87K in funding support. I love this idea! Unfortunately, it would mean going against the opinion already expressed by the public art committee, so that makes it rather tricky. You can read Michale’s letter on page 11 of the package.
Cave Avenue Reconstruction
A complete re-do of Cave Avenue is in the works for 2012. Starting on page 25 of the package, you can read a briefing about the extensive public consultation process that has contributed to the design, and get some sense of what the final product is going to look like. I’m hoping we will see more about the actual final design in a presentation in the meeting. I’m particularly curious about the proposed width of the new road, with its parking spaces, bike lane and sidewalk, as compared to the existing roadway.
Contract renewal for Cascade Plaza public parking
As you may know, the town contracts with Cascade Plaza to make some of their parkade available for public parking. This contract is ending soon, and administration is asking to negotiate an additional 5 years.
You can read a briefing about the Town’s use of social media, starting on page 93 of the package. As you’ll see in the report, we’re having a lot of success with Facebook. If you haven’t seen the Banff Facebook page, you can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/townofbanff ... and perhaps Friend it, Like it, etc.
OTHER MEETINGS THIS WEEK
Council members will be meeting in strategy sessions at other times this week to get an initial look at the applications for tax exemption (decisions will be made later in a public meeting) and to review the budget strategy. I also have a regional transit commission meeting on Wednesday – we are hard at work on the operating bylaw and financial procedures for the organization.
A REMINDER ABOUT THE ACTION REQUEST
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but a lot of people still seem to be unaware of the Action Request, a great feature on the Town’s website www.banff.ca At the very top of every page, you'll see a white band with a string of words in black. Among those words is "Action Request". If you want to let the town know about a backed-up storm sewer or a burnt-out street-lamp or a broken Stop sign or an unshovelled sidewalk or your neighbour's dog that never stops barking, the Action Request is a great feature. Clicking on those words takes you to a quick and simple online form, so that you can let the town know what the problem is. If you request a callback, town staff will call you to let you know what action was taken. Using the Action Request is a quick and easy way to make your concerns known. It also lets us easily track complaints over time, so that we can identify areas that need more attention.
THE FINE PRINT
This post expresses my opinions only. It does not purport to express the opinions of the Town of Banff or its Council. Any errors are mine alone. I am always happy to hear your comments or help with your questions about these items or any others relating to the municipal government.