The City of Calgary releases recommendation for 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets
Today, The City of Calgary released the recommended 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets for Council and public review. The recommended budget balances multiple critical objectives: continuing to deliver the services Calgarians rely on, maintaining affordability by keeping City expenditures as low as possible, and investing in Calgary.
Aligned with Council’s guidance to keep expenditures in line with inflation plus population growth to help maintain affordability for Calgarians, The City’s proposed total annual operating budget will reach $4.9 billion by 2026 and invest a total of $10.2 billion in capital infrastructure that starts or continues in this cycle.
“The investments we’re proposing will continue our progress to make Calgary a great place to make a living and a great place to make a life for all Calgarians,” said City Manager David Duckworth. “We will continue to deliver the services Calgarians rely on over the next four years, while investing in Calgary to make it an even better destination and great place to live, work, grow and raise a family.”
Administration is recommending an average annual increase of 3.7 per cent over the next four years in the total amount of tax collected from existing properties. With household expenditures expected to increase by 7.2 per cent in Calgary this year, Administration has worked hard to maintain affordability by keeping expenditures as low as possible.
Aligned with Council’s guidance to keep ongoing expenses in line with inflation plus population growth to help maintain affordability for Calgarians, The City’s proposed total annual operating budget will reach $4.9 billion by 2026 and invest a total of $10.2 billion in capital infrastructure that starts or continues in this cycle.
· Key anticipated operating investments:
- $41 million (ongoing) to improve mobility through improved transit service levels, expanded initiatives like On Demand and eScooters, and improved traffic safety.
- $69 million (ongoing) to improve public safety by supporting community service provider partnerships, increasing staffing and technology and reinstating a medical response unit.
- $11 million (ongoing) to service the expanding system of parks and open spaces system.
- $9 million (ongoing) to support economic development and tourism by delivering convention centre services, producing cultural attractions and providing services for entrepreneurs and innovators.
- $19 million (ongoing) and $159 million (one-time) to preserve heritage assets, provide user- and business-friendly planning policies and deliver programs to revitalize downtown.
- $3.8 million (ongoing) and $44 million (one-time) to set the foundation for work required to achieve 2050 climate targets.
· Key anticipated capital investments:
- $559 million for public transit to improve comfort and reliability, reducing maintenance and fuel costs.
- $76 million in public safety, providing effective and reliable emergency response, plus critical infrastructure upgrades in 9-1-1.
- $47 million in recreation, supporting active living, and improving accessibility and inclusivity.
- $153 million in affordable housing to keep families and individuals housed, fostering safe, accessible and inclusive housing.
- $170 million for downtown and main streets, improving the public realm, attracting investment and improving quality of life.
- $42 million in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate risks, and preparing for the low carbon energy transition.
- We will continue to make progress on city-defining infrastructure investments including the Green Line, the BMO Centre expansion and the Arts Commons transformation. We also continue to work towards an Event Centre and Field House.
The City will also continue to make progress on city-defining infrastructure investments including the Green Line, the BMO Centre expansion and the Arts Commons transformation. We also continue to work towards an Event Centre and Field House.
Calgary is expected to welcome approximately 88,000 new Calgarians between 2022 and 2026 – more than the population of Airdrie. Population growth brings benefits to the local economy, vibrancy and diversity, but it also drives increased municipal costs through increased use of City services.
“Calgary, just like the rest of the world, has experienced a lot of change in recent years, and we are still experiencing lingering impacts on our services and affordability,” said Chief Financial Officer Carla Male.
“Calgary is not immune to global challenges like inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturns, and climate change. That’s why striking a balance between services and costs has been particularly important when developing the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets. We have been closely monitoring our finances, maintaining a focus on streamlining the cost of government, and implementing innovative and customer-focused improvements.”
Themes from Fall Survey of Calgarians
Calgarians’ input played an important role in helping determine The City’s focus for the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets with many sources of engagement and research throughout the past year. Most recently, the Fall Survey of Calgarians identified several key themes, including:
- Calgarians continue to report a high quality of life, and they are also reporting an increasingly positive perception of the economy in Calgary.
- Perceptions of Calgary being a “great place to make a living” have statistically increased since Spring 2022, and the current result is the highest recorded since 2015.
- Satisfaction with the overall level and quality of City programs and services remains high at 66 per cent, which is on par with fall 2021.
- Key priority areas for Calgarians include traffic and roads, crime, safety and policing, and transit. Additionally, the top priorities for additional investment include affordable housing for low-income Calgarians, public transit including bus and C-Train service, and social programs for individuals such as seniors or youth.
- Perceptions of value for tax dollars are stable. While more Calgarians (compared to 2021) prioritize tax increases over service cuts, there has also been a shift toward wanting tax increases kept to the rate of inflation instead of beyond it.
Full results from this survey can be found at calgary.ca/CitSat.
Share your input
Visit calgary.ca/YourServices to see the recommended service plans and budgets. Council debates and makes final decisions beginning Nov. 21.
Calgarians can share their input with Council by providing written feedback or registering to speak with Council on Nov. 22; visit the public submission form at calgary.ca/PublicSubmission. The public can access on-site translation services on Nov. 22 in the following languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Tagalog, Arabic, Urdu, Blackfoot, Stoney-Nakoda, Spanish and French.