City council approves operating budget to a tune of $364 million

The 2.02% hike includes 1% for capital investment and 0.11% for the carbon tax

Red Deer City council today approved this year’s operating budget at $364 million – that’s a 2.02% tax increase for residents.

Based on the approved budget, a home valued at $325,000 may see about a $42.55 increase in the municipal portion of their taxes per year.

“Council reviewed many different options proposed by administration which aimed to reduce costs with as little impact to service levels as possible,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

“However, some tough decisions were made in regards to service levels in order to keep property tax and utility increases as low as possible. We are confident Red Deerians will still find value and general quality of life maintained even with these reductions.”

Included in that final figure was 1% for capital investment for amenities and growth, plus 0.11% for the provincial carbon tax.

“It’s important to note that council, in our deliberations, we went line by line by line. Council was highly cognizant of the fact that we needed a budget that would be sensitive to the local economy,” said Veer

“But that it would also respond to the service needs of our community and the social challenges that we are faced with with respect to crime and public safety, and to balance all of that without compromising the future of our City.”

The 2018 municipal tax rates will be set later this spring.

That rate will then be combined with the provincial education tax rate and the Piper Creek Foundation requisition to help determine how much property tax residents will pay.

As assessed property value is multiplied by the property tax rates to figure a property owner’s tax bill that is then mailed in May.

Ultimately, council approved about $8.1 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies to arrive at the 2.02% tax hike.

These cuts include a 2% drop in department budgets, a $386,000 reduction in electrical charges and $80,000 in savings related to phone and voicemail systems.

Parking rate hikes also contributed to the final tally.

Some key budget items also include adding 10 new police officers, further investment in parks and the clean-up of drug and rough sleeper debris in the City.

Council also voted to freeze drop-in fees for 2018 to help keep facilities accessible.

“We do a good job at creating a sustainable financial foundation and we did it because we continue to improve through integrated decision-making. I think that is in response directly to the current reality, which both addresses and considers our economy,” said Coun. Lawrence Lee. “It addresses meeting acceptable service levels.

“We’ve also remained nimble throughout this process,” he said.

Veer agreed.

“We knew when we established the guideline last spring that we were certainly looking at a recessed economy, and that would present us with significant capital and operating challenges in 2018. Particularly in light of the uncertainty around federal and provincial grants, and the changing climate we find ourselves in with navigating (through that).

“I think this budget follows those guidelines. It shows sensitivity to the local economy without compromising our future or even our service levels to the citizens and the region that we serve.”

Veer emphasized how shifts in provincial funding allotments are impacting municipal governments and how they craft their yearly budgets, adding that certainly this year, there was a stronger sense of that.

As mentioned, without the carbon tax, Veer said the local operating tax rate would have been .11% lower than the final increase.

“The household impact per month is $3.55 on the property tax for the average home of $325,000.”

Just Posted

It’s been a strong start for Red Deer’s newest hockey team

Red Deer Senior AA Rustlers coming off back-to-back wins

Innisfail RCMP investigate serious collision west of Innisfail

One of the passengers was taken by STARS air ambulance to the hospital

The Red Deer Home Renovation & Design Show runs through to Sunday at Westerner Park

Lots of ideas for fall renovation, decor, design, organization, construction and indoor living projects

Red Deer RCMP investigate second failed ATM theft attempt

This is the second attempt to steal the ATM from Eastview IGA in less than a week

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Most Read