City council passes $330.6 million operating budget

Red Deer residents to see 3.77% tax increase on municipal side

  • Jan. 21, 2015 3:57 p.m.

After seven days of deliberation, City council approved the 2015 operating budget with a recommended 3.77% tax increase. The operating budget totals $330.6 million.

“This budget focuses on building our core infrastructure and delivering services to our residents, all while maintaining quality of life,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We made key investments in core services such as policing, emergency response, snow and ice control, transit and other road infrastructure, which the community has identified as priorities for council.”

The City requires a 3.77% increase in overall municipal tax revenue to fund the approved budget. For a home with an average assessment value change, which is assessed at $325,000 for the 2015 tax year, this equates to an increase of $70.13 for the year 2015, or $5.84 per month.

The new tax rate will be set later this spring. That tax rate will then be combined with the education tax rate to help determine how much property tax residents will pay. An assessed property value is multiplied by the property tax rate to determine a resident’s property tax bill.

“City council demonstrated its commitment to invest in core services and plan for the future of our City, all while acknowledging our current and changing economic reality,” said Veer. “This budget is highly responsive to priorities identified by our citizens and aligns with the strategic direction of City council with the most cost savings and efficiencies in the base budget. It allows us to plan for the short term but enables us to respond to issues and changing priorities as they arise.

“When you look at the actual operational component, we often hear from our public that they would like to move the community forward but they want to see operational increases in line with cost of living. I can genuinely say that our administration has endeavored to do that.”

City council approved a 1% capital savings investment fund to ensure it is able to fund growth and amenities the community wants and needs in the future.

Substantial corporate cost savings and efficiencies were incorporated into this year’s budget.

“By council’s approval of this we are building for growth. It takes a reasonable first step in a response to our need to plan for the future without presuming excessive financial pressures that our citizens may be faced with in light of our changing economy,” said Veer. “This budget introduces measured capital savings for growth-related infrastructure in the future and those decisions will come, but we’re planning for our future in a way that can be measured and can always be revisited when necessary to do so in order to respond to our changing community and our changing economic climate.”

Some of the items approved in this year’s operating budget include $80,000 for downtown initiatives which includes the Ross Street Patio. The RCMP and City fire department will see an increase in employees. Council approved six new RCMP officers and three municipal support at a cost of $559,650. Also approved was 10 new firemedics for a total of $877,165.

Other key budget items include financial investment in the Red Deer Regional Airport and the Red Deer Public Library as well.

“The items put forward in this year’s operating budget invest in core programs and services that make Red Deer such a great community,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “The investments made represent the delivery of quality services for Red Deerians today, and in the future.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Klaus testifies he falsely confessed to triple-homicide in Mr. Big sting

Klaus said confessions were made in order to further position within criminal organization

Red Deer River Naturalists host guest speaker

Bradley Peter will talk about new methods of lake monitoring

Superintendent Ken Foster sees progress in city policing

Red Deer RCMP Superintendent has been on the job for a year and has seen success

Accused Jason Klaus testifies in triple-homicide trial in Red Deer

Klaus charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of arson

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

Opioid prescriptions up across Canada: report

The report shows the number of opioid prescriptions rose by almost seven per cent, while daily doses on average dropped

Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Kosovo president Hashim Thaci warns that Russian meddling has implications for Canada

Health Canada hints at government’s plans for legal pot

Health warnings, plain covers for pot packs under proposed regulations

Washington governor tells BC don’t be ‘daunted’ by Trump

“I want to assure this assembly that no matter who is in the White House, it won’t affect Washington state’s relationship with Canada or British Columbia.”

Feds plan to spend billions on housing strategy

However much of the $15.9 billion will not be spent until after the next election in 2019

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Most Read