For Immediate Release / June 16, 2020
Update on City Of St. Albert’s Response to COVID-19
Update for June 16, 2020
The City of St. Albert is taking a thoughtful and measured approach to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Please note: due to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, this information is considered current as of the date of distribution. In an effort to keep residents and visitors informed, below is a summary of some current information to be aware of.
Financial Shortfall Strategies
At the June 15, 2020 City Council meeting, Council approved Administration’s recommendations for addressing the anticipated $7 million shortfall in the City’s 2020 operating budget due to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
- The City of St. Albert is facing a predicted shortfall of $7M as a result of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Administration has explored available options to reduce this deficit through internal means rather than depending on residents and businesses through increased tax revenue.
- This exercise has identified one-time savings that can be realized immediately through expense reduction. This includes:
- $543,400 in one-time savings, which were realized by reducing and cancelling operating carry forwards. The associated reserve funding will be reallocated to the 2020 General Operating Budget to help offset any potential deficit.
- $18,000 in savings due to the cancellation of the 2020 Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts.
- $5,918,000 in one-time corporate and departmental savings, made up of vacancies, redeployments and layoffs; rewards and recognition; learning and development; vehicle allowances; merit increases; suspension of services; closure of buildings.
- $110,000 in cancelled or reduced public art projects.
- $227,100 transfer to the Public Art Reserve reallocated to the 2020 General Operating Budget.
- As a result of these savings, some programs will not be delivered in 2020 or will be delivered with reduced service levels.
Bylaw 26/2020 - Operating Line of Credit Borrowing Bylaw (1st Reading)
At the June 15, 2020 City Council meeting, Administration presented a report on a proposed borrowing bylaw to increase the City’s line of credit from $5 million to $20 million. The increase would provide the City with increased flexibility to address any potential financial shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council heard first reading of the proposed bylaw on June 15. It is expected that second and third readings will take place on August 17, 2020.
- The City already has a line of credit in place for $5 million (Bylaw 4/95).
- The Borrowing Bylaw, if approved, would enable the City to increase its existing line of credit to $20 million.
- The line of credit would be used to finance operating expenditures as needed.
- The City would pay interest on any balance owing on the line of credit. Interest would be paid at a rate of prime minus one per cent.
- Proposed Bylaw 26/2020 outlines the conditions and security requirements associated with the temporary increase in the City’s line of credit.
St. Albert Transit Fares
St. Albert Transit will be reinstating fares effective July 1, 2020. Riders who purchased an April pass are being asked to hold on to their pass and once City buildings are re-opened to the public, a refund or exchange will be issued.
Fare products will be available for purchase no later than June 19, 2020 at the following locations:
|7-Eleven||23 Akins Drive|
|7-Eleven||1 Giroux Road (at St. Albert Trail)|
|7-Eleven||17 St. Anne Street (at St. Albert Trail)|
|7-Eleven||71 Liberton Drive (near St. Albert Trail)|
|7-Eleven||220 St. Albert Trail (at Green Grove)|
|London Drugs (St. Albert Centre)||375 St. Albert Trail (near Bellerose)|
|Petro Canada||174 St. Albert Trail (at Gate Avenue)|
|Petro Canada||770 St. Albert Trail (by Wine & Beyond)|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||665 St. Albert Trail (near Boudreau)|
|Shoppers Drug Mart||140 St Albert Trail (near Gervais Road)|
Please note: St. Albert Place (City Hall) and Liggett Place remain closed to the public at this time. Edmonton residents using an April ETS pass on St. Albert Transit during the month of July will still be required to pay the zone fee of $1 each way.
The Students Ride Free program will resume effective July 1, 2020 and students’ free tickets can be picked up at any of the retail outlets mentioned above. All Aboard/AISH pass recipients are asked to contact 780-394-7581 for information on how to receive your July pass. St. Albert Transit strongly recommends that riders wear a mask when using St. Albert Transit buses.
Block Parties to be Modified for 2020 Season
The City of St. Albert has modified its Block Party program to adhere to new provincial health orders and guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents are encouraged to share their 2020 Block Parties on social media, using the hashtag #T8NTogether.
A “How to Safely Host a Block Party” tip sheet has been created to help provide guidance to community organizers upon registration. It includes tips and recommendations such as staggering attendance and planning for physical distancing.
Key modifications include:
- Encouraging smaller gatherings.
- To limit shared touchpoints, activity kits and food will not be provided.
- Block Parties will be restricted to driveways, parking lots and green spaces.
Block parties were initially postponed for the 2020 season due to restrictions on mass gatherings and other public health orders. Block Parties have been a community staple in St. Albert since the program launched in 2008.
Block Parties will be open for registration between July and September. Learn more about how the Block Party program has been modified and how to register.
City services still open/operating
Unless listed on the facility closures or listed above, all City services are still available for access by phone, email or online.
The City is working to safely open facilities, services and amenities using a staged approach that aligns with Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. Visit the Now Open page to view what amenities and facilities are currently open.
Please check the City’s website and social media for updates and further information. The City thanks its residents and patrons as we work through our response to COVID-19.
For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Alberta Health Services website, a link to which is available at stalbert.ca/covid19.
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Last edited: June 16, 2020