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Proposed User Fees, Omnibus Report and Add Packages

Following the public release of Action Plan 2015-2018 on November 4, 2014, two supporting reports were released on November 19, along with an agenda for Council’s deliberations on the proposed Action Plan that begin November 24.

As submitted, the documents for Council’s consideration during deliberations are:

  • Action Plan 2015-2018 Proposed Business Plans and Budgets (Attachment 1),
    released to public on November 4.
  • User Fee and Utility Rate Changes (Attachment 2: C2014-0863).
  • Omnibus report and Add Package Items (Attachment 3: C2014-0863)

To access Attachments 2 and 3, please visit the agenda for the November 24 Special Meeting of Council on The City's Electronic Legislative Management website.

User Fee and Utility Rate Changes

This document contains additional information on proposed City user fees and utilities rates from 2015 to 2018 that were partially released on November 4 as rates and fees highlights 2014 within the
Supplemental Information section of Action Plan 2015-2018. City services that require user fees are outlined in the Proposed User Fees and Utility Rates document and include: water and wastewater rates, transit fees, planning and development fees, and recreation fees, among others.

Based on long-term recovery rates, previously approved by Council on May 5, 2014, the four-year rates and fees outlined in Action Plan (also called short-term rates and fees) include subsidized services that provide broad public benefit, such as public transit, that are supported by property taxes and other City revenues. Other services, such as business licences, are not subsidized by tax dollars and these fees reflect the full cost of the service.

All rates and fees are for Council’s consideration and approval. Within Attachment 2 document, certain fees are proposed as bylaws, which includes the entire proposed City bylaw, and other fees, known as resolutions, appear as fee schedules.

Omnibus Report

Released in advance of Council deliberations, the Omnibus report is a summary of all the items that Calgary City Council has asked City Administration to report back on during the course of discussing and drafting Action Plan during the second half of 2014. Specifically, the Omnibus identifies:

  • Items for Council’s information that City Administration has been directed to report on by Committees of Council, and/or Council, for Action Plan deliberations.
  • Items for Council’s information that Council had asked City departments, business units or Civic Partners to include an item in their business plans and, Administration was unable to accommodate that request prior to the late September finalization of the proposed Action Plan.

Add Package Items

Attachment 3 contains additional budget requests that were not originally accounted within Action 2015-2018 yet had been previously brought forward at Council as emerging items. These items are classified as Add Packages.

Add Package items are distinct from those in the Omnibus report as they include a specific budget request from a City department or business unit that is in addition to the overall departmental budget allocation proposed in Action Plan 2015-2018 (Attachment 1). Each Add Package request to Council includes background information, a summary of the item and the proposed budget request.

What are User Fees and Utility Rates?

User fees are the amount charged for a City good or service (i.e. City inspection, Transit fare or pet licences). Utility rates are the amount charged for providing water, wastewater and drainage, services not supported or partially supported by property taxes.

How Are User Fees and Utility Rates determined for Action Plan 2015 - 2018?

Approved by Council on May 5, 2014, The City’s long-term recovery rates set a 10-year threshold for user fees and utility rates within city business units, based on three criteria outlined in The City’s User Fees and Subsidies Policy (CFO010): consideration of full cost to The City; what the market is willing to pay for the service (if applicable); and what public benefit is provided by the service. 

 

Building on the long-term recovery rates approved by Council on May 5, City Administration determined its short-term rates and fees for 2015-2018 over summer 2014 as part of the business planning and budgeting process that resulted in the proposed Action Plan.

In this way, long-term recovery rate targets set the strategic direction for all proposed rates and fees over the next four years. Because rates and fees are not only determined by actual cost to The City, and include consideration of broader public benefit and affordability, the long-term recovery rate process allows City departments and business units to develop their operating budgets (including budgeted revenues) in alignment with Council Priorities and long-term City plans and outcomes. Once approved, rates and fees are subject to annual adjustments during the 2015-2018 business cycle, as determined by Council.

How will these reports be used by Council?

Along with the rest of Action Plan 2015-2018, the proposed changes to City User Fees and Utility Rates will be deliberated by Council starting November 24, 2014. The Omnibus report is for Council’s information, to provide context for overall deliberations. Items within the Add Package individually require Council’s approval.