What Are The Priorities?
Sohi: “We heard clearly that Edmontonians wanted increased investment in public safety and this council has made several decisions that have done that, including approving the new police funding formula earlier this year. It is crucial for council to remain accountable for past decisions and I will continue to emphasize the importance of honouring these commitments in the budget discussions. We passed a budget based on affordability, not austerity.”
Janz: “From talking to council, there seems to be a high desire to improve transit — cleanliness, frequency.” (There is a $1.8 million enhanced transit cleanliness package in the budget update).
Stevenson: “Climate action, transit, and addressing homelessness will be key priorities for me going into these deliberations.”
Hamilton: “I think there are a few things that are considered untouchable, like the base budget, and some that are not untouchable but create some regulatory issues — relating to labour agreements, or provincial legislation. Obviously what makes the conversations at budget so difficult is that these perspectives vary widely amongst different councillors and different geographic parts of the city.”
Tang: “We’ll be reviewing the budget line by line, again this year, to identify areas of priority alignment and room for savings. Similar to the four-year budget deliberation, I believe everything should be on the table, especially during exceptional years like right now. This includes reviewing our agencies, boards, and commissions, and even revisiting how we are investing to achieve our important climate and carbon goals.”
Janz: “We are an organization that’s about people. And people deserve to be treated fairly, as banks raise interest rates and gouge us, as the grocery-chain cartels raise the price of food.”
Hamilton: “Cities are service-driven levels of government, which means they are people-intensive, that is a reality. Salary settlements are likely to be a theme over the next few years as our unions settle. These are pressures that are difficult, but not impossible, for the city to manage, but something we need to know from residents is if we see service cuts, what is the preferred area for reductions, or would they prefer to see increases tied to service performance.”