Transition memos released by Edmonton's mayor to 'inform debate'
Edmonton's outgoing mayor released five memos to the public on Friday that, he said, cover the most pressing issues the next city council will face in the first months of office.
"One of the strengths of local democracies everywhere is how open and transparent they are and how much information is shared with citizens to inform debate," Mayor Don Iveson told reporters on Friday.
In November, Iveson announced he would not be seeking re-election as Edmonton's mayor.
"The goal of releasing these transition memos quickly is to provide insight that will help the next mayor and council hit the ground running on implementing their city building priorities.
Iveson's five open transition memos can be viewed on his website:
- Supportive Housing
- Energy Transition Strategy
- The City Plan
- Fiscal Policy
- Regional Economic Development
'AN UNCOMFORTABLE DEPENDENCY'
In his Fiscal Policy memo, Iveson cited provincial cuts and dependency as one of four financial challenges the city is facing.
"Transfers from other governments are a necessary way to bridge the gap," the memo reads in part.
"However, with this granting arrangement comes an uncomfortable dependency. Recently announced provincial cuts to Alberta's municipalities, especially Edmonton and Calgary, are likely the largest threat to our budget and therefore to the kind of city the next council wants to build."
When asked about the section in his memo on Thursday, Iveson's response was blunt.
"I'm not sure it's possible to have a functional relationship with a dysfunctional government," he said. "The situation Alberta finds itself in is indicative of that."
"The federal government is now providing the bulk of support to cities, both for COVID and for infrastructure as the provincial government's position retreats."
The Fiscal Policy memo also lists impacts of COVID-19, climate crisis, and police funding formula as financial challenges for Edmonton.
"Traditionally, transition memos like this are kept confidential and shared only with incoming elected officials," said Iveson, "but by releasing these memos publicly it will provide transparency by giving Edmontonians the same access, the same information that elected officials would receive."
Eleven candidates are running to become Edmonton's next mayor. There are 74 candidates running for council in the city's 12 wards.
Edmonton's next municipal election is on Oct. 18.