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City spends $3,500 on video showing snow removal procedures

Airdrie City Council Briefs:

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 12:18 pm

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The City of Airdrie launched a new informational video at council on Jan. 20 to show the City’s snow clearing efforts and procedures. The video is available for residents to view on YouTube.

Lynda Phelan, team leader of corporate communications, presented the three minute video during a council meeting, a video that is slated to be one of four that the City will release this year, a new method of information sharing from the City’s communications department.

Corkscrew Media – a Calgary based company - was contracted to film and edit the video for $3,500 and shooting began on Nov. 19, 2013. No more than two weeks later, the city was hit with a snow event on Dec. 2 and 3, which was good timing according to Phelan.

“It was pretty convenient for this video that we got hit with so much snow and it allowed us to illustrate the full range of our snow clearing service,” she said.

Phelan describes the video as, “a more engaging way for City staff to promote and spread information about (their) services.”

In her presentation to council, Phelan explained an increase in information sharing should cut down on the number of complaints with regards to City services.

Alderman Allan Hunter touched on Phelan’s points when speaking about the benefits of a video such as this.

“A lot of complaints about our services come from misinformation,” said Hunter. “This (video) gives people a real visual sense of what’s going on out there and what we’re doing. On top of that, it puts a face to the people on the front lines who are out there in these storms keeping our roads clear.”

Phelan says another informational video is on the way and is likely to be about the City’s new curbside organics pick up program.

“These videos are part of our strategic communications plan,” said Phelan. “If the subject matter lends itself to this medium then we’ll pursue it; we’re always looking at ways to help our residents better understand the services in this city.”

The video can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1EqctRYR7M

A new home

The Airdrie 88 Lynx Air Cadet Squadron got a vote of support from City staff, in the form of a commitment to help them find a new home.

The squadron requires about 680 square feet of space, along with room for parking, according to Darren Miller, chair with the squadron’s parent support group.

“We can’t afford commercial land, so what we’re looking for is a grant from the City to utilize a piece of city property,” said Miller.

The cadets have been making their home at the Royal Canadian Legion, located at 503 Third Ave. SE, but the building is up for sale and the squadron is in need of a new space to call home.

Mark Locking, director of Corporate Properties with the City, said he and his team are committed to making sure the cadets find a new building.

“Corporate Properties has been working closely with the cadets to find them a space to use,” said Locking.

“Our goal is to find them a space as soon as possible and we are committed to working with them.”

City draws reserve funds

City council voted unanimously in favour of drawing $752,744 from reserves to cover water and sewer costs in 2014.

The bulk of the money will be drawn from the sewer reserve at $677,470, with the remaining $75,274 being drawn from the water reserve.

Water rates from the City of Calgary will increase by 7.4 per cent in 2014, while wastewater rates will see a jump of 13.5 per cent.

Airdrie Financial Services Team Leader Lucy Wiwcharuk explained that City staff has known for some time that additional costs associated with water service would be coming from Calgary.

“We implemented a new charge to developers and for the past six months we have been collecting in order to offset this increase,” said Wiwcharuk.

“Our invoice from Calgary for our water and sewer service was $1.7 million and up until Dec. 31 we had collected $947,256 from developers so we had to draw the remainder from our reserve. These two reserves do have balances that can sustain the draw.”

Alderman Allan Hunter questioned whether or not the City could pursue different avenues to draw funds and what they might be.

Wiwcharuk responded that there was an option to draw from different operating reserves, however, the water and sewer reserves were the best option.

“One of the things to remember is that these costs coming forward are related to the utility and the utility does need to be self supporting. It can’t be funded through property taxes. This is why we would go to the utility reserves and not general reserve funds, and there was no discussion around raising taxes to offset this increase,” said Wiwcharuk.


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