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Improving Understanding of Municipal Finance Circumstances

Financial Task Force Recommendations Focus 1: Improving the Understanding of Municipal Finance Circumstances

Achieving success on the Financial Task Force recommendations is a significant effort by the whole corporation. Many have contributed their talents, knowledge and experience to assist in making sure the full benefit of the task force’s recommendations can be fully leveraged for the benefit of all Calgarians.  The highlights below showcase the collaborative work by teams across the organization to help strengthen The City’s financial system by implementing Financial Task Force recommendations.

Improving the understanding of municipal financial circumstances


The City’s Customer Service & Communications team has responded to Financial Task Force recommendations focused on enhancing the approach to ongoing communications by establishing a cohesive financial narrative that connects The City’s annual financial cycle and initiatives. The narrative includes elements of service value, citizen opportunities for input, as well as continuous improvement initiatives to:

  • Improve transparency about services plans and budgets, and how property tax dollars are invested, starting with clarity about the provincial and municipal split.

  • Demonstrate service value by highlighting citizen benefits on a variety of services and programs The City provides through the municipal portion of property taxes and user fees.

  • Communicate savings and efficiency initiatives underway to reduce municipal government costs, such as the Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE) program.

The calgary.ca/OurFinances webpage provides a central place where citizens can go to learn about City Finances and how The City is working to ensure Calgarians receive good value for their property tax dollars, including:

  • tax calculator that shows the year-over-year change in property taxes, a breakdown of how much of your property tax goes to the province, how much goes to The City, and how your City tax dollars are invested in services that make life better. 

  • A video series to increase awareness and understanding of the financial cycle, inputs, property assessment, taxes and investments in municipal services.

The City implemented a service value campaign from March-to-June to improve understanding of municipal finances through multi-cultural marketing and social media. The campaign includes key messages about City finances and addresses misconceptions and myths about our finances, programs, and services at calgary.ca/financial-facts.

Sustaining Calgary’s superior livability outcomes while maintaining competitive property tax rates


The Financial Task Force recommended The City further develop and sustain Calgary’s superior livability outcomes while having competitive residential and non-residential property taxes to achieve the goal of tax competitiveness.

The City is committed to meeting the needs of Calgarians in a fiscally responsible way to help maintain some of the lowest property tax and utility rates compared to other Canadian cities, while also sustaining high scores on livability and quality of life. These factors – livability and tax competitiveness – play a vital role in attracting skilled labour and capital investments in Calgary.

The City measures its performance relative to other Canadian cities on an ongoing basis to identify where we are doing well and where we can improve. We also monitor how we compare against international cities based on various world ranking studies throughout the year. This knowledge strengthens The City’s accountability and enhances transparency. Ongoing improvements to municipal measurement and benchmarking are underway in collaboration with other cities to enhance tax competitiveness.  Visit calgary.ca/compare-municipalities to learn how Calgary compares to other cities.  

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