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

Alberta’s Pascale Paradis earns bronze in 7.5 km Female Biathlon

Canada Games action carries through to March 2nd

Alberta earns three medals in Long Track Speed Skating

Alberta now has 16 medals (6-5-5) and currently sits in second place of the medal standings

Calgary singer Shaye Zadravec gearing up for City appearance

Talented songstress to open for Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez Feb. 22nd

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

Team Alberta adds nine medals on day two of competition at Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta had a solid day at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

4,400 leased railway cars will move up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by 2020

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Payless to close 248 Canadian stores, saying it’s ‘ill-equipped’ for market

The company will begin closing stores at the end of March

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Most Read