City Council finalizes the One Calgary 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets
Today, City Council deliberated and finalized the One Calgary 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets. As part of The City’s regular cycle of municipal elections and business planning, One Calgary is the four-year strategic plan and budget for The City of Calgary.
“I’m really pleased with where Council has landed,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “We’ve invested very strategically in key areas such as transit, parks, pathways, and critical maintenance of our facilities, while keeping our residential property taxes amongst the lowest of any major Canadian city. This budget achieved more than $100 million in efficiency savings, and Council was able to pass on that savings to the non-residential property owners who need it most.”
After a week of deliberations which included hundreds of written submissions from the public and 73 presentations from the public at the Nov. 26 public hearing, Council approved the proposed 2019-2022 Service Plans and Budgets with the following amendments:
• Council approved the property tax rates of 2.45% overall for 2019 and 3.45% for residential taxpayers, and 3% for 2020 to 2022. This would have a monthly impact to the typical household averaging around $5.40 per month for 2019.
• Reduce the recommended budget increase for 2019 by $500K, $350K in 2020, $300K in 2021, and $250K in 2022 for a total reduction from the budget increase recommendation of $1.4M
• The addition of $1.7 million back into the Fire and Emergency Response service budget.
• Approximately $4 to 5 million per year invested in Economic Development and Tourism, to be paid for through corporate efficiencies, which is a net zero impact to taxpayers. Additionally, $2 million in one-time funding in 2019 towards Calgary Economic Development as a financing bridge for operations.
• Development of a Main Streets Investment Program to strategically invest in growth areas within developed areas.
• $43 million in remaining, one-time capital funding allocated as follows:
- $6 million to the Parks Leveraged Partner Program, which also supports Parks Foundation Calgary for their major capital projects.
- $6.5 million to Recreation to support community associations and social recreation groups.
- $5.5 million to Streets and Pathways to fund active mobility in the 42 Avenue SE multiuse pathway and other priority pathway connections.
- $17.5 million to Public Transit for additional Light Rail Vehicle train cars.
- $7.5 million to support urban forestry.
- 50% of available balance from the Community Investment Fund to lifecycle maintenance for recreation facilities.
• The City of Calgary is to find salary and wage savings to reduce the overall property tax increase to 2.45% in 2019, and fix the residential tax rate increase at 3.45% to achieve a shift from the non-residential assessment base to the residential base.
• The City of Calgary is to prepare further options in Q1 2019, on the shift from non-residential assessment base to the residential assessment base as previously directed by Council, including but not limited to:
- Creation of a small-business assessment class.
- Continuing shift from non-residential to residential.
- One-time money to manage the transition.
- Advocacy with Federal and Provincial Governments.
• The City of Calgary will meet with the Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Real Estate Advisory Committee of Calgary, Economic Development and other interested stakeholders by April 2019 to share ideas and options generated through the tax shift work, and then bring a joint presentation with the business community to Priorities & Finance Committee in May 2019.
• Allocate $5 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to the Council Innovation Fund, and The City of Calgary is to work with Council on revised terms of reference including a better definition for what the fund should be used for, a revised application process and consideration to use a portion of this fund for community-driven projects.
“Calgary is in a period of economic recovery and though challenges remain, we continue to focus on improving quality of life for Calgarians for the next four years and beyond,” says Carla Male, Chief Financial Officer. “This budget is focused on finding efficiencies within our existing means, and prioritizing what the public and Council have told us is important to them, to make some additional investments that deliver on these priorities and ensure high quality service to Calgarians.”
Visit calgary.ca/yourservices to see the full plans and budgets, Council’s direction, information on each of The City’s services, and “What we heard” reports from citizen engagement.