Today, the Executive Committee of Council received an update on The City of Calgary’s performance, how tax dollars and user fees were spent in 2022, how the community is doing and more. The Delivering Results for Calgarians: 2022 Performance Report provides this information for 2022 and over the whole 2019 to 2022 service planning and budgeting cycle.
“In 2022, we accomplished a lot here at The City to make life better every day for all Calgarians,” said Carla Male, Chief Financial Officer at The City of Calgary. “The City’s performance in 2022 was responsive, nimble, and financially prudent, achieving significant results for Calgarians within our approved budget. We contributed to Calgarians’ quality of life, including advancing economic, social and climate resilience. But we know we always have more to do to drive our city’s success today and in the future.”
Reporting on our performance is an important way for Administration to supply regular updates to Council and Calgarians on how we are tracking against our service plans and budgets. Council can assess our performance and provide direction in areas that may be under or over-performing, allowing for course correction.
“In a time of inflationary pressures and financial challenges for Calgarians and The City, it’s especially important to provide this progress report to ensure we’re on the right track,” said Male. “I’m proud to say that we delivered services within budget and with year-over-year performance that improved or remained stable. We also demonstrated financial sustainability.”
Performance measure results in 2022 improved compared to 2021. Measures performing better than anticipated increased by 7.4 per cent, and measures that did not perform as planned fell by 3.9 per cent. Approximately 88 per cent of strategies which advance service to the community have been completed or are progressing as planned. Highlights include:
- Responding to important social issues with the development of strategic teams and initiatives such as the Indigenous Relations Office and the Anti-Racism and Equity Programs, and sector-wide capacity building with the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy and the Community Safety Investment Framework.
- Advancement of affordable housing goals, including providing approximately $11 million in Housing Incentive Program grants, leveraging $55 million from the Rapid Housing Initiative, and selling nine surplus parcels through the Non-Market Land Sale. Collective initiatives have resulted in the creation of approximately 3,500 new affordable units since 2016.
- Improving public tree health with a robust tree inspection and pruning program, increasing resilience and minimizing damage from severe weather events, pests and diseases.
- Ongoing delivery of Specialized Transit to enhance mobility for Calgarians with disabilities throughout the pandemic despite significant changes in customer demand.
- Reliably delivering safe drinking water, despite challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic; heat waves; lower than average river flows; extended cold weather events; and taste and odour issues.
- Delivering waste, recycling and disposal services while minimizing health and safety risks for our customers and employees. This included offering financial relief to customers, by holding residential cart rates and landfill tipping fees at 2019 levels through 2022.
- Distribution of $179 million of prevention investments to 194 organizations to support and build capacity for community organizations. These investments included Family & Community Support Services; Crime Prevention Investment Plan; Community Safety Investment Framework; Emergency Resiliency Fund; Mental Health and Addictions; and the Capacity-Building and Emerging Issues Fund.
- Delivering of the Tenant Relief Program during the pandemic to provide relief to tenants and landlords. The program was crucial in providing empathy, support, and preserving relationships, while supporting economic vibrancy throughout the pandemic.
- Increasing security controls and an elevated response to security incidents, particularly during the pandemic, demonstrating our commitment to keeping people, information, and assets safe and secure.
- Enabling technology solutions and implementing thousands of data changes to the human resource, financial, and supply chain systems during our organization realignment.
- Maintaining our AA+ and AA credit ratings (with S&P Global Ratings and DBRS Morningstar respectively) throughout the downturn and pandemic, through prudent fiscal management, debt and reserve management practices.
- Providing tax relief for Calgarians, including the Phased Tax Program; re-opening grants; hailstorm deferrals; hotel/motel deferrals; and the Property Tax Assistance Program. Indirect tax relief was also provided from the removal of Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) fees.
We also continued to manage our finances in a sustainable manner, following best practices and Council policy. Annual favourable operating variances are common for Canadian municipalities, which budget and manage finances to ensure they don’t run a deficit.
As a result of our prudent financial management, The City’s 2022 favourable operating variance is estimated at $258 million. This was made up of $29 million from tax-supported services primarily from salary and wage savings, additional revenue of $108 million driven by an unbudgeted grant to help with transit revenue losses and higher than budgeted investment income as well as $121 million in expenditures savings.
Council allocated $64.7 million of this variance to invest in services in November 2022, like improving public transit, continuing to support Calgary’s Mental Health and Addiction Strategy, and furthering the Downtown Strategy.
An additional $32 million is recommended to offset transit revenue losses and continue recovery spending, leaving an estimated $161.4 million as uncommitted funding to be contributed to the Fiscal Stability and Operating Budget Savings Account Merged Reserve. The final 2022 operating variance will be confirmed in April with the release of The City’s Annual Financial Report.
Our favourable operating variance will help to replenish the Fiscal Stability and Operating Budget Savings Merged Reserve, enhancing Council’s ability to make strategic investments and manage risks. Administration is recommending that Council continue discussions on the use the 2022 favourable operating variance during the Executive Committee’s standing item – Strategic Discussion on Building and Delivering on Plans and Budgets and determine how they will be allocated during the November 2023 adjustments decisions.
Additionally, The City’s national and global leadership was recognized through 35 awards and notable mentions in 2022. Read about hundreds of accomplishments by downloading the report at calgary.ca/performance.