City to begin 2017 Operating Budget deliberations next month

Tax rate to not exceed 2.5% increase for Red Deer residents

  • Dec. 8, 2016 6:53 p.m.

With a focus on sustainability for people and services, the recommended 2017 Operating Budget considers the current state of growth, economy and maintaining quality of life for Red Deerians.

Red Deer City council will begin reviewing the City’s 2017 Operating Budget on Jan. 10th, as the next step in the 2017 budget process. The $105 million 2017 Capital Budget was approved on Nov. 23rd.

“The City and our community have faced many challenges this year. The proposed 2017 Operating Budget aims to balance the need to maintain core City services, while using resources effectively and responsibly,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “It’s important we invest in key areas, while ensuring social equity by freezing fees for residents in areas such as recreation and transit.”

The proposed budget is based on council’s Strategic Plan and initiatives in City department service plans.

“The capital and operating budgets are one way administration puts council’s strategy into action for the community,” said Curtis. “At a time when our economy is impacting individuals and businesses in our community, we need to plan for sustainable services while doing what we can to help those affected by this economic climate.”

The 2017 Operating Budget being recommended by administration considers City council’s direction that the property tax increase does not exceed 2.5% in 2017, which must include a 1% capital contribution (amenity and growth).

“Our recommended operating budget reflects the economy, while sustaining City services,” said Chief Financial Officer Dean Krejci. “The budget being recommended to Council has an increase of $3.2 million or the equivalent of a 2.51 per cent tax increase in the municipal portion of a property tax bill. This includes one per cent for capital for amenities and growth,” said Krejci. “However, this figure is only a starting point and will be impacted by council debate.”

Based on the submitted budget, a home which experienced an average assessment value change of $325,000 for the 2017 tax year may see an approximately $50 increase per year in the municipal portion of their taxes. This does not include any changes to the education portion of property taxes as these won’t be known until later this year when the province releases its budget.

Administration will present its operating budget, including Funding Adjustment Recommendations (FARs) to City council for consideration on Jan. 10th and debate will continue on Jan. 11th through 13th. Dates are also held for Jan. 16th, 17th and 18th if required.

As part of the 2017 Operating Budget process, citizens have the opportunity to review the budget and provide feedback to council before it is considered. Feedback can be provided by email to legislativeservices@reddeer.ca or in writing at City Hall, Collicutt Centre, Recreation Centre, Red Deer Public Library Downtown Branch, and G.H. Dawe Community Centre Branch. Copies of the budget are also available at those locations. Budget details can also be found online at www.reddeer.ca/budget. The deadline to submit feedback is 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 22nd.

– Fawcett

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