To ensure we are providing Calgarians with the services they need, The City reviews its service plans and budgets on an annual basis and makes appropriate adjustments if required.
This year’s adjustments are known as Mid-Cycle Adjustments (MCA), as they are mid-way through the One Calgary 2019-2022 service plans and budgets approved by Council in November 2018. Calgarians have experienced extraordinary challenges since that time, including the COVID-19 pandemic and consistently low oil prices, and The City is working hard to balance continued service delivery to citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups, with emerging fiscal realities.
Taking a least-harm approach to citizen-facing services, on November 26, Council approved the MCA, and made some notable decisions to support Calgarians through tough times, including:
- Approval of an overall tax rate decrease of 1.77% for 2021, exceeding Council’s direction for a 0% increase. This is the first overall municipal tax rate decrease in over 25 years.
- Over $90 million of savings were found, some of which will replace the one-time rebate approved by Council for last year’s taxes. The result will be an overall decrease of 0.57% for non-residential and 0.54% for residential taxpayers (including a small one-time rebate in 2021).
- That small rebate balances for the fact that the assessed value of single residential homes remained strong in 2020 and means that the typical single residential property owner can expect to pay the same in net municipal property taxes as last year.
- Specific tax impacts for 2021 will vary depending on property type and changes in assessment value.
- Approval for the use of $21 million in 2021 for a Phase Tax Program that would cap the property tax increase for non-residential property owners at 10 per cent excluding the effects of prior year’s rebates, recognizing the need for support for these businesses during these extraordinary times.
- Approval for adjustments based on 22 Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE) program business cases that will continue to modernize local government. Through SAVE’s strategic approach to cost savings, The City was able to identify $26 million in net base budget savings, $1 million in revenue and additional one-time savings.
- Approval of strategic investments to improve social well-being in Calgary, including a commitment to anti-racism.
- Approval the Community Safety Investment Framework Terms of Reference that will include participation from The City, Calgary Police Service and the community.
- $8 million in one-time funding from The City’s Fiscal Sustainability Reserve to allow for the immediate activation of activities while other future funding sources are explored.
- Administration to consider potential sources of additional funding for 2022 and beyond which would be tied to clear performance metrics and targets.
- And the Calgary Police Commission is encouraged to financially participate in this Framework, with the Commission and Calgary Police Service asked to propose a plan back to Council for allocating the $8 million earmarked for this purpose in their budget submission.
Financial conversations with citizens
The reports summarize the citizen feedback we collected on City finances and services through research, social media and engagement from July – September 2020.
To view the engagement What We Heard Report as well as the above reports in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Punjabi or Spanish, please visit engage.calgary.ca/yourservices.
Visit calgary.ca/CitSat for more information.
Here is how the MCA process works:
MCA will also be the vehicle by which Council will review and discuss the Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE) Program. SAVE is targeting a reduction in operating budgets of $24 million in savings in 2021 and $50 million in 2022 to deliver modern and affordable municipal services to Calgarians, as directed by Council. For more information, please visit calgary.ca/SAVE.