Highlights from Council decisions
Council’s discussions on adjustments to The City’s 2015-2018 business plans and budgets have concluded, after Council unanimously adopted the 2017 budget earlier in the week.
City Council has responded to feedback from citizens and to the significant shift that has taken place in the local economy since The City’s four year Action Plan was approved in 2014. The approved adjustments take into account the effects the economic downturn is having on Calgarians and provide significant relief on municipal taxes and city fees.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, “These are challenging times, but we are up to the challenge. We are all in this together and The City is taking action to keep taxes low, stimulate the economy through investment, and continue providing the services needed to make Calgary a great place to make a living, a great place to make a life. We are working together to make a positive difference in the lives of Calgarians.”
The approved adjustments include $198.6 million in total benefits that citizens and businesses will receive from relief in taxes and fees, savings, and targeted initiatives.
- All property owners will benefit in seeing the original 2017 property tax rate increase reduced from 4.7 to 1.5 per cent. Council will provide a one-time rebate in 2017 to all property owners to cover that increase.
- Homeowners, transit riders, recreation users, parks users, and business owners will benefit from approximately $66.2 million in fee relief for:
o Transit fares
o Recreation, parks, and pet service fees
o Planning, development and fire code inspections and permits
o Landfill tipping fees
o Green Cart program fees in 2017
o The low income transit pass will continue to be provided at the current rate for the first quarter of 2017. After that, a sliding scale fare schedule for Transit’s Low Income Monthly Pass will be implemented based on income.
- Those who have been particularly hard hit by the economic downturn will benefit from $9.1 million in increased funding to support community and social programs, community events, affordable housing, and initiatives to support new and existing businesses.
- The property tax rate reduction and property tax rebate are being achieved through a combination of corporate funding sources, department savings from efficiencies and service reductions, totalling $73 million.
- The adjustments also offset the impact of a $35.3 million drop in some City revenues.
- The City’s Capital Investment Plan will help spur economic growth and diversification, maximize investment to create jobs, build and maintain infrastructure, and attract and retain people, business and investment to Calgary. The Capital Investment Plan will be funded through existing capital sources and better position The City of Calgary to take advantage of federal and provincial grant funding programs.
- City Council also set aside $15 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve to assist Calgary businesses facing challenges due to the economic downturn. Administration will report back to Council no later than 2017 January with options for Council to consider around utilizing the funds.
The mid-cycle adjustments to Action Plan provide a revised roadmap for Calgary — and give direction to City of Calgary employees and many community partners who deliver important daily services, programs, and infrastructure to approximately 1.2 million Calgarians.