City of Calgary Financial Task Force recommendations

Today, City Council accepted the reports and recommendations put forward by The City’s Financial Task Force. The Task Force has been meeting regularly since September 2019 to identify and assess innovative solutions to address The City’s financial challenges for short-term economic mitigation, long-term economic recovery solutions, and revenue options to improve The City’s financial resiliency.

Members of the Financial Task Force with expertise in policy formulation, business strategy, property valuation, and finance have volunteered their time and expertise over the last nine months to understand the complex financial issues The City is facing and have worked to develop 35  recommendations.

The work presented today by the Financial Task Force is a critical piece of Calgary’s economic plan for the future. It has validated many of the steps already underway and has introduced some new ideas for consideration. As we build a city for everyone, this will help inform our actions to keep taxes low while delivering efficient, high quality services,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Thank you to the volunteer members of the Financial Task Force for doing this work to make Calgary an even better place to live.”

Council identified the need for a Financial Task Force after changes in the economy resulted in a prolonged decline in demand for downtown office space and a growing supply of inventory that negatively impacted property valuations. It caused a significant redistribution of the tax base that these properties previously carried to other properties.

The Financial Task Force recommendations emerged from a collaborative process through which Task Force members embraced the opportunity to understand, challenge, interpret and augment information previously considered. The 35 Financial Task Force recommendations have been organized under four broad categories:

  • Decision-making priorities for municipal finances
  • Practices that align with economic drivers of change
  • Processes that respond to stakeholder expectations
  • Policies to support achieving fiscal sustainability

At the highest level, the key findings of the Financial Task Force focus on addressing and solving the following problems:

  • Improving the understanding of municipal finance circumstances
  • Responding to Calgary’s cyclical economy using existing tools
  • Bringing property taxation into the twenty-first century
  • Improving tax efficiency for long-term fiscal sustainability
  • Preparing for changes that would occur as the economy evolves
  • Making Calgary more competitive, livable and attractive
  • Supporting regional economic development
  • Working better with partners to achieve progress

Some of the recommendations are possible to implement in the near-term with Council direction and dedicated resources, while others are longer-term solutions that will require cooperation and collaboration with other orders of government, other municipalities and adjacent counties.

The City’s Chief Financial Officer, Carla Male, who led the Financial Task Force said, “I am so grateful for the high calibre of these skilled and dedicated professionals who have volunteered their time and expertise to identify recommendations and solutions to help support Calgary’s economic recovery and resiliency.”

To view the full report and recommendations, visit task force.