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Bringing property taxation into the twenty first century

Financial Task Force Recommendations Focus 3: Bringing property taxation into the twenty first century

Use the guiding principles


The importance of service planning and budgeting principles serve as the foundation for understanding our service delivery, the value it provides, and how this contributes to the quality of life in our community.  

An established set of principles to guide the decision-making process over multiple four-year cycles will inform general practice across all different aspects of planning and budgeting activities. Enshrining these principles in policy is intended to allow Council to have a more strategic focus on its priorities and decisions required to develop our multi-year service plans and budgets.

Multi-Year Service Planning and Budgeting Principles

  • Accountable: We focus on citizens by ensuring they can meaningfully engage and participate in budgetary choices. The City’s service plan and budget documents are transparent, understandable, meaningful and available to all Calgarians. We measure and report on performance and service value and make adjustments as needed to meet expectations.

  • Aspirational: We identify and address the needs of all Calgarians as expressed in our existing longterm plans, policies, strategies and priorities. We use the best available evidence, including medium and long-term forecasts, to create realistic multi-year service plans and budgets.

  • Equitable: We consider Calgarians' diverse needs, strengths and social realities, recognizing that different barriers exist for diverse individuals and groups, and delivering services in a way that all people have the opportunity to benefit equally.

  • Integrated: We use a cross-corporate approach to planning, managing and reporting that includes risk management and attention to the relationship between operating and capital investments, while proactively involving our partners.
  • Value for money: We responsibly invest public funds in City services for long-term benefits while continuously seeking efficiencies in order to maximize the value that Calgarians receive from their municipal government.

These principles should be applied throughout the multi-year service planning and budgeting process and reflected in prioritization and decision-making at each stage. The principles are consistent with Administration’s Rethink to Thrive Strategy, with strong links to its goals of financial sustainability, optimized investments, and organizational focus, among others. 

Examples of the implications within the multi-year service planning and budgeting process

Principle Implications on the Service Plan and Budget Process
Accountable

·        Should be informed by the opinions of all Calgarians.

·        Rationale underlying all revenue including tax and user fee decisions should be easy to understand and communicate.

·        There need to be regular public updates

Aspirational

·        Priorities should be set based on measurable population indicators used in existing plans, policies and strategies.  Examples of population indicators include “the percentage of waste diverted from landfills” and “the percentage of Calgarians using in each mode of transportation”

·        Priorities should be multi-year to allow the necessary time to direct resources and see results.

·        Deliver multi-year service plans and budgets with the ability to adapt through annual and mid-cycle adjustments processes.

·        Where possible service performance measurement should align to priorities.

Equitable

·        Equity thinking will be more integrated into the service planning & budget process by using tools like the forthcoming Equity Index produced by Calgary Neighbourhoods.

·        Services should consider specific demographics, population groups and under-served areas of the city.

·        Services should consider barriers to access, inclusion and civic participation.

Integrated

·        Existing plans and policies including but not limited to Imagine Calgary, the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan, White Goose Flying, Rethink to Thrive, Calgary in the New Economy, the Climate Resilience Strategy, the Social Wellbeing Policy and the Resilient Calgary Strategy inform the preparation of the service plans and budgets.

·        Recognize that many services may be able to contribute to one priority.

·        Consider how priorities and direction apply to enabling and governance services, which help drive down costs and increase value for money.

Value for money

·        The number of priorities needs to align to budgetary realities including population growth and inflation and the long-term need for investment.

·        Should consider the financial situations of all Calgarians.

·        Understand The City’s competitive position, including the effect of changes on stakeholder decisions.

·        Include the impact of growth in the city and ensure a sustainable financial balance with existing services.

·        Balance the stability and predictability of service levels and the stability and predictability of property taxes and user fees.

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