Edmonton mayor reins in requests for budget add-ons

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is trying to rein in his colleagues at city hall as council continues to tweak the budget wishlist for 2019-2022 this week.

'Crosswalks and dog parks and turn bays are not suitable use of borrowing'

Dog parks and upgrading certain crosswalks not all on the city's budget priority list, Mayor Don Iveson says. (Emily Rendell-Watson/CBC)

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is trying to reign in his colleagues at city hall as council continues to tweak the budget wishlist for 2019-2022 this week.

Councillors are allowed to suggest amendments to the proposed operating and capital budgets — like reducing or adding money — to services, programs and projects.

Some are suggesting certain projects be higher on the priority list and some, could be funded with debt.

"At the 11th hour, a number of, let's say newer members of our council who haven't done this before, put an awful lot of proposals on," Iveson said Tuesday.

"Crosswalks and dog parks and turn bays are not suitable use of borrowing, it's really not consistent with our policy." 

In one instance, the mayor said a councillor proposed upgrading an intersection in their ward. That one, he said, is number 256 on the city's priority list of safety upgrades to crosswalks.

"Some of it quite frankly is queue-jumping," he said."I said we have to hit pause on this."

Coun. Moe Banga said he suggested a dog park for his ward because there's a need in areas south of the Anthony Henday, like Ellerslie and Summerside.

"There's not a single dog park in that area," he said. "That's one of the main demands in the area."

Banga insisted a dog park could be funded by a minor tax levy and that it's his responsibility to raise his constituents' concerns during budget debates.

City administration is proposing a 3.3 per cent property tax increase for 2019, which councillors are attempting to whittle down.

"It seems like, you know, others are not concerned because they do have dog parks and I don't," Banga added. 

Council agreed to have administration organize the list of amendments and present it to council on Thursday. 

@natashariebe