Council Approves 2018 Adjustments to Action Plan
Yesterday, City Council approved the 2018 adjustments to the final year of Action Plan 2015-2018. The approved budget adjustments respond to changes in the local economy since Action Plan was approved and take into account the effect the downturn is having on Calgarians, by reducing the previously approved tax rate increase of 4.7 per cent and freezing some city fees.
The need to reduce the 2018 tax rate increase along with revenue challenges stemming from the economic downturn led to a projected 2018 tax supported operating budget gap of $170 million, which was later reduced to $146 million.
City Treasurer, Carla Male said, “I am pleased the Council approved budget closes the operating gap while minimizing cuts in service and tax increases for Calgarians”. The budget also provides $1.7 billion in capital investment for Calgary infrastructure and related jobs through the approved 2018 capital budget.
The approved operating budget will bring the 2018 property tax rate down to 0.9 per cent from the previously approved 4.7 per cent tax rate increase. This translates into a property tax increase of $1.35 per month or $16.00 annually for the average homeowner with a single residential property valued at $460,000.
In addition to the approved tax rate increase at 0.9 per cent, taxpayers will see an additional 2.9 per cent increase on the municipal portion of their 2018 property tax bill (or approximately $4.35 per month for the average homeowner), for a combined impact of $5.70. This is the result of 2.9 per cent in one-time rebates that Council approved in 2017, which effectively sheltered property owners from the 2017 increase by deferring the impact for one year.
Approval of the 2018 adjustments allowed for the closure of the $146 million operating budget gap through a combination of cost savings and service reductions based on the least harm approach. Key elements of the approved 2018 Adjustments include:
- Reduction to the previously approved 2018 municipal property tax rate increase from 4.7 per cent to 0.9 per cent for property owners.
- $20.8 million for Calgary Police Service (CPS) for the addition of 55 new members to address growing demands, additional human resources and to fund body-worn cameras, as well as to restore the reductions that had been recommended.
- An additional $4 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to fund the low income transit pass for Calgarians in need in 2018.
- $4 million to restore the recommended reductions to Transit service hours and to invest in additional services to optimize the system.
- Restoration of $1.4 million in funding for Civic Partners.
- $3.0 million approved from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to Community Services for safe communities, youth and low income programs and crime prevention.
- $23.7 million in 2017 tax room dedicated to fund Green Line financing costs for 27 years ending in 2044.
- Reduction to previously approved 2018 basic sanitary tipping fees from $119 to $113 per tonne and Planning & Development fees, to reduce the burden on Calgary businesses.
- $1.7 billion for capital investment in Calgary infrastructure.
Council also directed Administration to determine the cost of extending the Municipal Non-residential Phased Tax Program (PTP) to help Calgary non-residential property owners, and report back to Council in the first quarter of 2018 with a recommendation on either extending the PTP or finding a more efficient way to provide tax relief to businesses through the use of up to $45 million in funding from the Fiscal Stability Reserve.
The 2018 property tax rate will be finalized by Council after the Government of Alberta approves its budget and 2018 provincial property tax requisition in the spring.
Visit calgary.ca/2018Adjustments more information or to download a copy of the 2018 Adjustments report.