January 2019 News Archive

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2019 Operating Budget focuses on sustainability and community safety

January 16, 2019 5:42 PM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

City Council approved a $369.8 million operating budget today with a 2.15 per cent tax increase. The increase is made up of 1.15 per cent for operating costs, and 1.0 per cent for capital investment for amenities and growth.

“In response to the needs expressed by our citizens to focus on community safety initiatives, Council was presented with a challenge to invest in community safety items, while looking for ways to reduce spending to keep property taxes and utilities as low as possible,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We were faced with a number of significant challenges during the 2019 budget; however, I believe the budget approved today respects the economic and social reality facing our community and citizens, while still positioning the city for our future.”

Based on the approved budget, a home valued at $325,000, which experienced an average assessment value change for the 2018 tax year, may see an approximately $47.44  increase per year in the municipal portion of their taxes.

The 2019 municipal tax rates will be set later this spring. That municipal tax rate will then be combined with the provincial education tax rate and the requisition for the Piper Creek Foundation 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-five 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, need to address community safety, while not compromising the future.”

Council approved approximately $3.5 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies to arrive at the 2.15 per cent tax increase. These savings include a reduction in Sunday and holiday Transit hours, and a reduction of hours at the Collicutt Centre and G.H. Dawe Community Centre.

“In terms of usage, we had a lot of input from the community that they don’t like to see empty buses running during peak times. While at the same time, we have to look at mobility across the community for those who need it,” said Curtis. “Transit is sometimes the only option, and with the ridership statistics that we now have through our new SWIT (System Wide Intelligent Transit) system, we were able to identify that we should move to a one hour schedule on holidays and Sundays.”

Some key budget items include covering a provincial funding shortfall for three RCMP officers for $175,000 as well as $730,000 for new RCMP members and municipal support positions. Also approved was $200,000 for the clean-up of rough sleeper camps.

Investments were made for ongoing work done by the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Network ($20,000), $20,000 for The City to continue implementing its Common Ground Protocol, which it signed in 2017 alongside the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society and $8,000 to host the second New Red Deerian Welcome Event.

These investments focus on priority areas identified by Red Deerians through various feedback mechanisms including surveys and open houses.

The 2019 budget was approved after seven days of deliberation. Residents can find out more about the 2019 budget by visiting The City’s website at www.reddeer.ca/budget.

For more information, please contact:

Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer

Craig Curtis                   
City Manager                
The City of Red Deer       

Communications and Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer

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