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Council Priorities FAQ

Why are Council Priorities important?

Council Priorities are set by City Council at the beginning of every election cycle to help guide City departments as they create their business plans and budgets for the next four years. They define long term goals to ensure that City departments work together to achieve the right balance in quality public services while keeping tax rates affordable. Priorities for 2015-2018 include defined outcomes in five priority areas, as well as 44 strategic actions to provide direction for City administration.

How does Council set Priorities?

Council reviewed many inputs before setting Council Priorities, including global, national and local trends, City strategic plans and guiding documents including imagineCALGARY, the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan, The City’s long-range financial plan, economic indicators, and citizen engagement results.

How are Council Priorities used?

City staff will use Council Priorities, along with other inputs including the indicative rates and fees, long range plans, citizen engagement results, trends, economic indicators and the needs of day to day operations, to draft their business unit and departmental business plans and budgets, which together comprise Action Plan.

Will there be more citizen engagement?

Citizens and stakeholders will have opportunities to provide comments and thoughts on the  draft Action Plan 2015-2018 in November 2014. There will be a final opportunity for citizens and stakeholders to appear and present at Council’s Public Hearing at the beginning of Council deliberations, which start November 24, 2014.

What are indicative rates?

The indicative rate is an indication from City Council of what it expects The City of Calgary's budget and utility rates to be. Now that this indication has been given to City Administration, managers will spend the next few months determining how they can continue to provide the services citizens expect within the budget determined by Council.

Why are property taxes increasing every year?

Given inflation (for example, the price of gas continues to rise), The City’s budget must increase to cover these costs. Property taxes in 2014 represent 42% of total City operating budget revenue sources. Other revenues are fixed or limited with increases projected at less than inflation. Higher property taxes are required to meet the shortfall of revenue increases from other areas. As an example a 2.1% property tax increase per year is an insufficient budget increase to meet inflationary increases and typically results in a service reduction.

Why are Utilities rates increasing every year?

The water utility is completely self-funded and receives no funding from property taxes. Accordingly, all capital investments and operating costs need to be funded through the rates. On-going water and wastewater investments are needed to meet growing demands including:

  • Keeping pace with population growth (i.e. Bonnybrook Wastewater treatment plant expansion is needed).
  • Meeting increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.
  • Maintaining, protecting and extending the life of our water utility infrastructure assets.
  • Continuing to provide high quality water services to meet the needs of citizens.

Why are Waste & Recycling (WRS) fees increasing?

WRS is funded through a combination of property taxes, gas tax funding and fees. With the exception of the new Green Cart composting program, all of the rest of operating and capital requirements can be funded within inflationary increases. The new Green Cart program and fee will be introduced in 2017, and has proven in the pilot to reduce garbage by 40%.

Where can I find more information on Action Plan 2015 – 2018?

  • Learn more about Action Plan 2015 – 2018 through this website.
  • Discover Council Priorities, their outcomes and strategic actions.
  • Browse the Budget Kit to learn about City revenues and expenditures.
  • Read the Engagement Report which reflect the diverse and thoughtful opinions, priorities, concerns and community aspirations of participants across multiple input streams.