Why four-year business cycles?
The City of Calgary develops its business plans and budgets in multi-year cycles in order to set priorities and deliver services that are efficient, accountable and innovative.
Calgary City Council launched the first multi-year planning process in 2006 to improve services to citizens, and tie short-term goals to our long range plans ensuring we are moving forward to achieve our vision set out in imagineCalgary. The benefits include:
- Improved transparency and decision-making by giving Council and citizens more information about where and how City revenues are used. This helps everyone link the costs of providing our services (what is costs to run a transit route) to the levels of service we provide (e.g. hours of transit service on that route) and the outcomes (ridership hours on that route).
- Providing an ongoing examination of City services to ensure what we are offering is relevant to citizens’ needs and priorities. There are many ways we examine our services including: citizen engagement; setting performance targets and measures; benchmarking against other industries and municipalities; the Citizen Satisfaction survey; and conducting zero-based reviews.
- Increased accountability in delivering services to citizens effectively and efficiently, through regular reporting to Council on our success and challenges.
Reporting Action Plan progress
Mid-year and year-end accountability reports provide an update on the status of achieving Council Priorities and on business plan and budget performance. The City also prepares a Corporate Annual Report & Audited Financial Statements, as required by the Municipal Government Act. It includes a high-level review of accomplishments, as well as annual Financial Statements and the external Auditor’s Report.
Council considers budget and plan adjustments for approval every November. Annual adjustments allow City Council and Administration to respond to emerging events and unexpected issues (economic, demographic, financial), and maintain the integrity of four-year plans and budgets. For example, The City is closely monitoring the economic impacts of the drop in oil prices. Any adjustments to City budgets or services, necessary because of the economic downturn, will be done during the 2016 annual adjustments in November 2015.
With the move to a 4-year business plan and budget cycle, a more comprehensive mid-cycle adjustment is being introduced. It includes an updated review of the socio-economic outlook and opportunities to revisit Council Priorities and citizen engagement. This adjustment will be conducted in 2016, to enable changes to the second half of the cycle (years 2017 and 2018).