Below is information on the direction Council has taken for 2015-2018. FAQ’s can found here, along with links to the Action Plan summary, graphical representations of City-wide and Ward specific results from the public engagements can be found on the downloadable PDF here.
Monday, May 6, 2014, Calgary City Council approved Council Priorities, along with indicative rates and fees, which will provide the necessary direction for administration to build 2015-2018 business plans and budgets, collectively called Action Plan 2015-2018.
Council Priorities for 2015-2018 are very closely aligned to the top priorities identified by citizens in the Action Plan citizen engagement in March. Council Priorities encompasses five key themes:
- A prosperous City – Calgary continues to grow as a magnet for talent, a place where there is opportunity for all, and the best place in Canada to start and grow a business
- A City inspired neighbourhood – Every Calgarian lives in a safe, mixed and neighbourhood, and has the opportunity to participate in civic life
- A City that moves – People and goods can move well and safely throughout the city, using a variety of convenient, affordable accessible and efficient transportation choices.
- A healthy and green City - We steward our air, land and water while encouraging healthy lifestyles for all Calgarians.
- A well-run City – Calgary’s government is open, responsive, accountable and transparent, delivering excellent services at a fair price. We work with our government partners to ensure that we have the tools we need.
Council also sets indicative rates and fees for Action Plan 2015 – 2018, which include property taxes, Water Utilities, Drainage and Waste & Recycling Services.
Council Priorities are set to help guide each department as they create their business plans and budgets for the next four years. They define four-year priorities to ensure that City departments work together to achieve the right balance in quality public services while keeping tax rates affordable. City staff will now use Council Priorities, along with other inputs, including the indicative rates and fees, citizen engagement, trends, economic indicators and the needs of day to day operations to draft their business unit and departmental business plans and budgets.
Indicative Property Tax Rates for 2015-2018
An indicative property tax rate of 4.7% for 2015 through 2018 would mean the median household would see a monthly increase of $6.30 in 2015, $6.60 in 2016, $6.90 in 2017, and $7.25 in 2018, if the indicative rates are approved in November during Council deliberations.
If approved by Council in November, the average household monthly bill for water and wastewater service would increase by $6.95 in 2015. Drainage rates are also increasing to improve drainage service in older communities that experience flooding during extreme rainfall events and to maintain high quality drainage service for all. The average monthly drainage increase is $1.66 per month per household in 2015. Despite the increases, Calgarians still pay less than a cent a litre for water.
Council also set indicative rates for Waste & Recycling Services. This included a $6.50 monthly fee for Green Cart service, which is scheduled to start in 2017. The Green Cart program builds on the success of the pilot, which has seen participants reduce garbage by 40%. Material that would have been buried in the landfills is now being turned into useful compost. Green Cart fees will start when the service is launched in 2017. Other indicative rates that were set include an inflationary increase to Blue Cart monthly household fee by $0.20 in 2015. The waste management charge will not increase.
These business plans and budgets will be coordinated and formatted into The City’s Action Plan 2015-2018, and publicly released in early 2014 November, followed by Council debate and approval from 2014 November 24 – 2014 December 5. There will be opportunities for citizens and stakeholders to provide comments and thoughts on the consolidated draft Action Plan 2015-2018 in mid-November. There is also a final opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to appear and present at Council’s Public Hearing at the beginning of business plan and budget debates, which starts 2014 November 24.
Property taxes pay for services Calgarians use everyday including police, fire, transit, roads and pathways, parks, recreation, 311, garbage collection and many others. Approximately 60% of your property tax goes to The City of Calgary. The other 40% goes directly to the Province. Property tax including residential & non-residential and business tax, accounts for 42% of The City’s overall revenues. In 2014, the typical Calgary household will pay $134 per month on their property taxes based on a median single residential property assessed at $430,000.
Water Utility Indicative
The City of Calgary’s water delivers all the water you need to drink, shower, wash clothes, and flush toilets for less than a penny a day. On a cost per litre basis, bottled water is 500 times more expensive than tap water. Calgary’s water utility in is facing upward pressures on rates to keep pace with a growing City, meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, and maintain assets. Essential water infrastructure investments are required to protect public health and continue to provide high quality services to meet the growing needs of Calgary. Calgary’s largest wastewater treatment plant is approaching capacity and requires a $700 million investment to be expended in order to meet future population growth.
Calgary’s per capita water use continues to decline and we are on track to achieve the 30 in 30 Water Efficiency Plan. One of the key water conservation initiatives is the installation of water meters. Residential customers are already 97% metered and we are working hard to reach 100% metered by the end of this year. Commercial customers are already 100% metered.
Waste & Recycling Services
Waste & Recycling Services is funded by a combination of property taxes, gas tax funding and fees. Increased levels of operating and capital budget are needed to ensure that Waste & Recycling Services is able to: keep pace with growth, meet increasingly stringent landfill regulatory requirements, maintain assets, provide high quality services and continue to reduce the amount of material that ends up in the landfills. With the exception of the new Green Cart service, all of the requirements for Waste & Recycling Services are funded through inflationary increases.
Participants in the Green Cart pilot have reduced their garbage by 40%. Over one million kilograms of food and yard material that otherwise would have been buried in the landfill has been turned into useful compost. There is good support and high citizen satisfaction with the Green Cart Pilot project.
• 91 percent support a City wide program (73 percent strongly support this initiative)
• 89 percent are satisfied with the program
Landfills are expensive to operate, maintain and they create significant long term financial and environmental liabilities. They require significant investments in protective systems to ensure that the waste that ends up in the landfill stays there and does not pollute our land, air and water. This is why The City of Calgary is working hard to keep material that can be recycled and composted out of the landfills.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.