Pressing needs of Calgarians top priority in new, collaborative budget process
Last year, the Council's Strategic Direction set the stage for Administration to improve our community through the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets. Each year, we refine these plans to enhance life for Calgarians.
Today, a list of investment opportunities was shared with Council and Calgarians to consider for this November’s service plans and budgets adjustments. Calgarians, local businesses and City partners will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback directly to Council in November, with this type of information being available to them earlier than ever before. This marks a significant shift, as it empowers Council to more effectively balance Calgarians’ feedback with available funding when prioritizing investments that align with the needs of Calgarians.
These conversations started months ago as part of a new, more collaborative budgeting process, bringing together Council and Administration to discuss the most pressing needs of Calgarians and The City’s financial ability to meet these needs in a way that balances affordability with continuing to build an incredible city.
"In November, Council will decide which investments to move forward with the revenue available, using property tax to fund additional needs of Calgarians only as a last resort,” said Chief Financial Officer Carla Male. “After November, we’ll be looking towards long-term solutions for the financial challenges facing The City. To empower Council's decision-making, we are focusing on how to bridge the gap in funding required and fostering more effective collaboration with other orders of government to deliver greater value to Calgarians.”
In addition to these opportunities, The City is sharing the progress we've made on the recommendations from The City's citizen-panel Financial Task Force. These recommendations are all about making sure Calgary's finances are sustainable and that living here remains affordable for all of us. Ensuring Council has the means to support what matters most to Calgarians required exploring the size and severity of City cost escalations and funding shortfalls. The City stepping in to fund provincial responsibilities has cost us approximately $311 million per year since 2007. Exploring all options, including new sources of revenue as the task force recommended, will help inform Council of possibilities to fund the most important investments for Calgarians.
Investment options include:
· Safer, more reliable and more frequent transit
· Free transit for children 12 and under
· Limiting fare increases
· Preparing for the next generation of transit projects
·Responding to the affordable housing crisis
·Permanent commitment to the delivery of Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy
· Delivering library and community amenities in Symons Valley/Sage Hill
·Building the long-awaited Foothills Fieldhouse
·Enhancing amenities in local parks and playgrounds
·Providing emergency financial support to Calgarians experiencing vulnerabilities
· Sustaining fire services
·Addressing problem properties
·Improving community traffic safety and reducing vehicle noise
·Enabling safe pedestrian commutes
·Keeping existing City facilities safe and operational
·Making sure that the right people with the right skills are delivering City services
·Reflecting the diversity of Calgary in City Administration
Managing operational risk
·Managing inflation pressures
·Enhancing flexibility of ward budgets
·Taking care of our current infrastructure
“These opportunities have been put forward in response to the growing needs of our city, accelerating critical priority areas, such as public safety, transit, and social equity, and introducing new ideas to modernize government while managing operational risks responsibly,” said Chief Financial Officer Carla Male.
Council will be deliberating and deciding on our plans and budgets adjustments in the month of November. Calgarians will have an opportunity to help Council identify which are the most important investments. You can provide written feedback to, or register to speak at, the Council meeting on Service Plans and Budgets Adjustments in November at calgary.ca/PublicSubmission.
For more information, please visit calgary.ca/adjustments.