The Sept. 28, 2015, Regular Meeting of Council included:
2016 Resilience Budget
Council unanimously approved Administration's proposed 2016 operating budget, reducing the tax rate increase for 2016 by 1.2% to 3.5%. This translates into an increase of $4.90 per month in 2016 for the typical residential property tax versus $6.75 per month at the previously-approved 4.7% tax rate increase. Guided by the principles of The City’s Economic Resilience Program the budget incorporates efficiencies and savings while maintaining investment in the community, and without any impact to frontline services.
Soon after the approval of Action Plan 2015-2018, the economic downturn began to affect The City and the Calgary community. As a result, unemployment levels have increased and municipal revenues have dropped below the level that was budgeted in Action Plan. At the same time, the most recent civic census shows that overall service demand and growth pressures in the community have remained high, and are in fact exceeding earlier forecasts.
The City is also experiencing corporate revenue shortfalls as a result of the slower economy, driven largely by lower franchise fees from depressed natural gas and electricity prices, and lower projected taxation revenues as a result of slower economic growth that is slowing growth in the tax base. The 2016 Resilience Budget proposes to cover the projected revenue shortfall of $41 million through an operating budget reduction with no impact to City services.
The Resilience Budget balances the need to respond to the economic downturn with careful consideration of risks, including the risks to service delivery, organizational capacity and The City’s long-term financial stability. Risks are further mitigated through the opportunity for a more comprehensive adjustment to business plans and budgets as part of the mid-cycle update next year. Administration will continue to monitor revenues, expenses and service levels and will report to Council through mid-year and year-end reports, and more frequently as needed.
Administration will bring forward a “capital stimulus budget” on 2015 November 25 for Council’s approval. The intent is to stay the course while providing economic stimulus and supporting job creation in the community.
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