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City Council approves 2020 Adjustments to City Budget

​November 30, 2019

City Council has approved the 2020 Adjustments to the One Calgary Service Plans and Budgets. After thorough deliberation by Council over the past week, the decision was made to:

  • Approve the municipal tax rate increase scenario of 1.5%, meaning:
    • The Calgary Police Service budgets are preserved.
    • The Civic Partners budgets are preserved.
    • A least harm reduction in City Services including: fewer Community Recycling Depots, reduction in response times for 311 services, less pavement maintenance and the deferral of one Calgary Fire Department station that is not needed immediately due to slower than expected growth.
  • Approve the use of one time funding to further reduce the municipal tax rate increase to 0%.
  • Approve the flowthrough of the reductions in fine revenue, biological testing and cannabis tax revenues as a result of the October 2019 provincial budget, increasing property taxes by a total of $13 million.
  • Shift tax responsibility from the current share of 49% residential and 51% non-residential, to 52% residential and 48% non-residential.

This tax increase will equate to approximately $12.50 per month in additional property taxes for the typical single residential home, broken down as follows:

  • $1.14 as a result of the reductions in fine revenue, biological testing and cannabis tax revenues in the October 2019 provincial budget, and
  • $11.36 as a result of a shift in tax responsibility from non-residential tax payers to residential tax payers.

In addition, a typical single residential home will see an additional increase of approximately $4.45 per month to recover the balance of the 2019 provincial education requisition that was underestimated due to the delay in the provincial budget.

The amounts taxpayers see on their property tax bills include both a municipal and a provincial portion. For residential taxpayers, this amounts to approximately 63% for municipal services such as police, fire, transit, streets and parks, while 37% of the amounts collected are remitted to the province. The overall property tax rates will not be final until the spring with the release of the provincial budget that determines the provincial portion of the property tax bill.

Administration will report in Q1 2020 with options for a transitional non-residential phased tax program for 2020 and 2021, as well as strategies and initiatives to achieve targeted budget reductions of $24 million in 2021 and $50 million in 2022.

“Council understands the economic pressures on both citizens and businesses and the need for a balanced approach. With the decision Council made yesterday, we are able to continue to support Calgary’s economic recovery with minimal impact to the services our citizens and businesses rely on every day,” said David Duckworth, City Manager. “The scenario supports Calgarians today, while allowing Administration to find solutions to continue to modernize the delivery of municipal services for the future.”

Additional decisions made during the 2020 Adjustments to the One Calgary Service Plans and Budgets include:

  • Maintain services at the Beltline Aquatic and Fitness Centre, and Inglewood Aquatic Centre. Administration will report back in early 2020 to provide recommendations for longer term operation.
  • Address the funding gap needed for the low income transit pass to remain at the 2019 sliding scale discount structure.
  • Restore funding to Calgary Transit to reverse some of the reductions in service made as a result of the July 2019 budget reductions to reduce overloading on some routes.

The combined impacts of all Council’s decisions will result in a reduction in approximately 138 positions.

“Administration and Council developed collaborative solutions that allow us to continue to deliver the services that Calgarians expect, while managing our finances in a measured and prudent manner,” said Carla Male, Chief Financial Officer. “We will be working hard over the coming months to move towards a more systematic and planned approach to identifying and realizing savings throughout the organization.”

More information will become available as Administration undertakes analysis to implement the decisions made by Council. The full agenda and meeting minutes from the budget deliberations are available on calgary.ca/Council.

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