After five days of deliberations, City Council approved a $389 million Operating Budget, reducing the proposed 2.49 per cent tax increase to 1.26 per cent with direction to identify further savings to reduce to 0.97 per cent.
To achieve the reduced tax rate, Council directed administration to identify an additional $400,000 in cost savings by the end of February.
“Our goal is to always keep the budget and cost of living in Red Deer as affordable as possible without compromising our ability to provide quality services to our citizens,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Administration met Council’s guidelines set in the spring, but with the continued economic recession, we need to find further savings which will result in a significantly reduced budget than we were originally expecting.”
To make the initial reductions to the proposed tax rate during deliberations, Council approved approximately $2.1 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies. These savings included eliminating a $500,000 transfer from operating to the operating reserve tax supported fund, as well as reducing the proposed 2020 capital contribution from one per cent to 0.5 per cent at a value of $682,000.
“In response to the economy, we have frozen staffing levels in 2020, with the exception of policing to address community safety challenges,” said Mayor Veer.
“Much like the Capital Budget, the Operating Budget is focused on maintaining current service levels. Cost savings were achieved where possible and we are able to honour previous commitments focusing on community safety by maintaining the added member complement in the RCMP,” said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “Council provided direction to administration to find an additional reduction of $400,000, and we’ll take the next six weeks to comb through the budget to identify further cost savings while minimizing impacts on our citizens and staff.”
Administration will bring a report back to Council at the end of February outlining the additional cost savings, giving time for the Tax Rate Bylaw to be adopted in April. The municipal tax rate will then be combined with the provincial education tax requisition and the requisition for the Bridges Community Living Requisition to determine how much property tax residents will pay.
For a home valued at $325,000, a homeowner will pay $2,338.09 in the municipal portion of their taxes based on a 0.97 per cent increase. This works out to an increase of $22.46 per year or $1.87 per month.
Residents can find out more about the 2020 Operating Budget by visiting The City’s website at www.reddeer.ca/budget.
For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer
City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer