As the economy is of great concern to all of us, efforts to diversify our economy and small business growth are welcomed. Constituents have expressed their desire to see money invested in infrastructure projects, especially in transit to help relieve traffic congestion. More vocally, Ward 6 residents and Calgarians identified tax savings as an area of high importance and where the 2015 budget surplus could be directed. For that reason, I will use my vote on Council to advocate for a one-time savings on future property tax increases in an effort to alleviate some financial strains on Calgarians and their families.
Please view Tax bill and tax rate calculation on calgary.ca, which outlines how Municipal and Provincial tax rate and tax bills are determined.
2015 Budget Surplus and Mid-Cycle Review
Council set out Action Plan to serve as our City’s road map to achieving Council Priorities for the 2015-2018 business plans and budget cycle. Shortly after approval, Calgary began to experience an economic downturn which is still in effect. In fall 2016, Council will be making mid-cycle adjustments to 2017-2018 plans and budgets. At the March 21, 2016 Strategic Meeting of Council, Administration provided Council an update on progress, future plans and risks. At this meeting, Administration proposed to bring the mid-cycle adjustments to Council structured around an Investment Framework. Additional information is needed before the framework can be finalized. This includes the results of economic scenario work. In order to understand and make sense out of the economic scenarios, Administration is gathering information on the social and community impacts that are likely to result from a significant change in economic conditions. This will be completed through a research summary carried out by the University of Calgary, and a series of workshops with most City of Calgary departments. This information will be presented to Council during the May 30, 2016 Strategic Council Session, along with an updated financial forecast for The City.
The 2015 Accountability Report, presented to Council on April 11, 2016, outlined a $86 million surplus from 2015 – $32 million was from Business Unit operating savings from things like not filling vacant positions, fuel savings, and higher than budgeted revenue for services – which has been placed in a budget savings account for future unexpected challenges in business units. Information on revisions to the 2015 and 2016 Operating Budgets along with Capital budget revisions will be presented to Council on June 27, 2016 including proposals of what to do with the remaining $54 million surplus from 2015. Council will finalize the 2017-2018 plans and budgets the week of November 21, 2016.
Up until that time, Council will be informed on the engagement results of Action Plan check-in, which took place in February and March, which suggest Calgary’s highest priorities still remain Getting Around Calgary (transit, roads, and transportation), as well as Calgary’s Communities (crime prevention, affordable housing, and recreation). An understanding of economic and financial forecasts, corporate financial implications of tax rate options and options for purposed adjustments are required before a decision is made in November. Please see timeline below for detailed dates and discussion.
This decision will take into account several factors including;
• Investment Framework Research,
• Action Plan Check-In Engagement Results,
• Property Taxes,
• 2015 Year-End Accountability Report,
• Federal and Provincial Budgets,
• Current Economic Climate,
• Capital Budget and Infrastructure Needs,
• Calgary Census Data and
• Citizen Satisfaction Results.