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Priorities and Finance Committee, Jun. 4, 2019

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The June 4, 2019, Priorities and Finance Committee meeting included:

Social Procurement Update

Administration presented an update on Social Procurement seeking Council’s approval of the Social Procurement Advisory Task Force Terms of Reference, Scoping Report for the pilot projects and Work Plan. This will allow Administration to move forward, with Council’s direction, toward utilization of existing procurement to create greater community benefit and economic resilience. Administration’s three-year Social Procurement implementation strategy pilot project will be agile and learn fast by using external and internal stakeholder input to adapt. It will try various options to reach the goal of a shift towards procurement based on achieving multiple outcomes that put the citizen first in addition to maximizing financial value. This will go forward to Council with Committee’s recommendation that Council: (1) Approve the Social Procurement Advisory Task Force Terms of Reference, Scoping Report for the Pilot Projects and the Work Plan; and (2) Direct Administration to return to the Priorities and Finance Committee with an update no later than Q1 2020.

Resilient Calgary

Committee received a presentation from Administration on The Resilient Calgary Strategy. The strategy, based on a shared theme of adapting, engaging and innovating Calgary as we prepare for our future, reinforces the important role of local government in helping its people achieve quality of life outcomes. The Strategy looks at Calgary holistically with one shared theme, four pillars, 13 outcomes, 29 actions and 39 success measures, that all help support a vision of resilience for Calgary. A resilient Calgary is one that is prepared for, and considers, stresses that shocks and could weaken the fabric of our community, our people, natural environment, economy and urban systems. The strategy is intended to give The City the foundation for Calgary to survive and thrive through these events ensuring we continue to have resilient Calgary for future generations. Committee approved the Resilient Calgary Strategy; and directed Administration to report back with an update to the Priorities and Finance Committee no later than Q2 2020. 

Maximizing Value from City Assets

Administration presented a report on Maximizing Value from City Assets. The City of Calgary has large and wide-ranging asset portfolios. In response to recent challenges, including insufficient funding for specific projects and the current downtown tax shift discussions among other challenges, Council requested that the asset portfolios be reviewed to maximize asset value. The report presented outlined the key components of a corresponding Asset Sale Review and provides a strategy to execute the review. This will go forward to Council with the Committee’s recommendation that Council approve the attached Asset Sale Review Strategy.

Non-Residential Assessment Sub-Classes

Committee received a report outlining the new legislative authorities that The City of Calgary has gained to administer nonresidential property sub-classes for assessment and municipal taxation. Classes and subclasses enable Council to distribute tax burden between different types of properties and property owners. This mechanism could be used to alleviate a portion of the municipal property tax burden from some businesses and re-allocate it to others. As directed by Council, Administration has explored the creation of a small business assessment class. Committee referred the report to Administration to continue to solicit responses from the engagement group, determine the impact of the recently adopted legislation and return to the Priorities and Finance Committee in the next three months. 

Financial Task Force Terms of Reference

The current economic situation may take an extensive amount of time to recover – and therefore mid and long-term solutions are needed to address the allocation of property tax responsibility and other financial strategies to improve Calgary’s financial resilience. Administration presented a report setting out a Terms of Reference for a Financial Task Force that will address both short-term and long-term options that speak to the underlying cause of the downtown tax shift issue which is largely economic in nature and will also identify potential new revenues options that should be considered by The City. This will go forward to Council with Committees recommendation that Council: (1) Approve the Terms of Reference of the Financial Task Force as amended, and (2) Direct Administration to commence the setup of the Financial Task Force and report back no later than November 2019 with a status update.

Council News in Brief is an informal summary of highlights from Calgary City Council meetings. The City Clerk provides the complete and formal documentation of Council’s meetings including agendas, minutes and video.

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