January 2017 News Archive

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2017 Operating Budget focuses on sustainability for our city

January 20, 2017 4:50 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

City Council approved a $356.5 million operating budget today with a 1.52 per cent tax increase. This 1.52 per cent increase in the operating budget is made up of 0.43 per cent for operating costs, 0.79 per cent for capital savings for amenities and growth, and 0.30 per cent provincial carbon levy contribution and balancing pool costs for electricity.

“In response to our economic and growth reality, Council was presented with a challenge to maintain the quality of services that our citizens expect while looking for ways to reduce spending to keep property taxes as low as possible,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We were faced with a number of significant challenges during the 2017 budget; however, I believe the budget approved today respects the economic reality facing our community and citizens, while still positioning the city for our future.”

The City requires a 1.52 per cent increase in overall municipal tax revenue to fund the approved budget. For the average home that is assessed at $325,000 for the 2017 tax year, this equates to an increase of approximately $30.96 for 2017.

The 2017 municipal tax rates will be set later this spring. That municipal tax rates 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. An assessed property value is multiplied by the property tax rates to determine a property owner’s tax bill that is mailed in May.

“Eighty two per cent of citizens surveyed as part of The City’s annual citizen satisfaction survey told us they get very good value or fairly good value for their tax dollar,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “We believe this budget continues to provide good value for each tax dollar, balancing the economic climate while not compromising the future.”

Council considered approximately $4.9 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies to arrive at the 1.52 per cent tax increase.

“Council reviewed many different options proposed by administration which aimed to reduce costs with as little impact to services levels as possible,” said Mayor 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.”

Some key budget items include investment in community safety through the Community Safety Strategy, creation of a Protective Services Division, the Central Alberta Crime Prevention grant and operating costs for new and enhanced sports fields. These investments focus on priority areas identified by Red Deerians through various feedback mechanisms including surveys and open houses.

City Council also approved a freeze to fees and charges for residents in the areas of Recreation, Parks and Culture and Transit.

“We know there are people in our community who are struggling, and the freezing of these fees and charges is intended to help ensure accessibility for our citizens and customers,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “City Council also decided to freeze their own wages as well as the City Manager’s wages, signaling to the community that we understand the economic reality that many of our citizens are currently faced with.”

“During times of economic slowdown, investment in the community can be a catalyst for economic growth,” said Curtis. “The 2017 Operating Budget balances the need to maintain core services, while using resources effectively and responsibly.”

The 2017 budget was approved after nine days of deliberation. Residents can find out more about the 2017 budget by visiting The City’s website at www.reddeer.ca/budget.

For more information, contact:

Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer

Craig Curtis
City Manager
The City of Red Deer

Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer

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