Penny Pinching Or Unfettered Spending? Council's 2018 Budget Adjustments
At the end of November, City Council and I reviewed and adjusted the 2018 municipal budget. 2018 marks the final year of Action Plan 2015-2018, Calgary’s first ever four-year budget plan. Over four long (and sometimes grueling) days we examined the successes of previous budgets and set ambitious goals for our future. I am pleased with where we are and look forward to the coming year as we develop One Calgary, the City's next four-year budget plan.
This budget purposefully focused on investing in safety, social services and public transit and easing the tax burden on Calgarians. I am excited for the Great Neighbourhoods work we will be executing on throughout 2018.
Key Elements of the approved 2018 Municipal Budget 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.
- $4 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to fund the low income transit pass for Calgarians.
- $4 million to restore the recommended reductions to Calgary Transit service hours and to invest additional services to optimize the system.
- $3 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.
- Reducing the 2018 basic sanitary tipping fees from $119 to $113 per tonne and Planning & Development fees, to reduce the burden on Calgary businesses.
- Approving $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.
This City Council continues to display sound fiscal management and a solid track record, evidenced in the latest credit ratings, which are among the best of Canadian municipalities.
I will continue to encourage balance and both social and fiscal responsibility for the City of Calgary and ensure that we maintain consistent fiscal performance, maintain a low tax burden and sizable financial reserves, as well as continue to be innovative and lead economic and population growth.
Want to know more?
Read the full 2018 Adjustments to Action Plan report.