Councillor Andrew Knack
We have seen an over $140 million shortfall in the budget this year due to the pandemic and as such, we’ve had to make changes to almost every program and service in the City of Edmonton. This is unlike anything Edmonton has seen before, and unfortunately we could be faced with further reductions in 2021 due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.
Council made a decision early on that we would not pass on the shortfall to property taxes. With businesses and households struggling to pay their existing bills, adding an 8%+ property tax increase would not have been acceptable. Therefore, a decision was made to make the necessary cuts to address the shortfall. There were 125 areas impacted with many of these changes made because we temporarily laid off thousands of City of Edmonton employees.
Decreasing or cutting services and programming is necessary at times, but we know the impacts this has on Edmontonians. We also know that these budget cuts could impact larger infrastructure projects like recreation centres and road widening construction projects. I’d like your feedback on what you see as priorities for Edmonton in 2021. If we are going to use some funds, especially our emergency fund, to re-introduce some service(s) or projects, what would you like to see funded? What do you feel could be reduced in order to stay within budget?
I know there have been community residents who have stepped up to help fill the gaps, which does not surprise me as Edmontonians continually show up when help is needed. Thank you for all the ways in which you’re helping our community and especially those that have lost employment or their health.
Please send me your thoughts and any other questions or concerns you may have using the following contact methods. I look forward to your feedback.
City Councillor – Ward 1