It’s set to be a lighter night at this week’s council meeting after a series of full galleries the past few gatherings.
Tonight council will hear a presentation from CFO Elsie Hutton on the 2016 property tax rate, and they’ll vote on whether to accept administration’s new population growth projections and a plan to move forward with the downtown multiplex theatre concept.
Hutton’s presentation will lay the ground work for council to pass a 2016 property tax bylaw at the May 3 meeting, with property taxes set to decrease 4% after council approved a $30 million decrease in the budget late last year.
Council will also hear new population growth projections from administration. The numbers are significantly lower than the last projections, done in 2012. The numbers show a modest rate of growth until 2030, when the region’s population is predicted to level out between 250-260,000.
Councillors will hear the new numbers a day after Syncrude CEO Mark Ward suggested to the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce that high population growth is a “thing of the past.”
“The big period of mega-projects and robust industry growth is behind us,” he said. “It makes sense that if the industry isn’t growing, why would the population grow?”
The population numbers, if accepted by council, will guide the RMWB’s policy development until the next growth projection.
A presentation will also be coming forward to outline administration’s plan for attracting a multiplex theatre project in the downtown core. The proposal includes extensive public consultation, which isn’t expected to cost more than $5,000, along with the courting of the private sector. The plan’s timeline suggests council approval of a private developer for the project could happen in September 2017, a month before the next general election.
Council convenes at 6 p.m.