Today, administration officially handed over the proposed 2023-2024 operating and capital budgets to City Council during open Council. These budgets and plans are built based on the preliminary direction given by Council last March.
The budget recommended by administration is at 4.79 per cent or $6,757 million dollars for 2023 and 4.38 per cent or $6,525 million for 2024. For 2023, in relation to a typical home assessed at $345,000 in Red Deer, this would represent a property tax increase of $119.29 per year or $9.94 per month. This also equates to an average weekly increase of only $2.08 towards the services that Red Deerians use on a daily basis.
“When Council set preliminary guidelines for city budgeting earlier this year, the economic situation for our community was much different that it is now,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “Both City Council and administration recognize the need to keep taxation and other fees as low as possible for our citizens and local businesses, however we need to be more deliberate in balancing costs and funding sources while investing in the future of our community given this new economic reality.”
Council gave administration the following financial parameters:
- Property tax increase of 4.7% in 2023, and 4.3% in 2024, equating to about $6 million annually in additional revenues.
- Capital amenities and growth contribution of 1% for 2023 and 2024 to help with building back our reserves.
- User fees and charges to be reviewed and implemented in 2023 in compliance with Council policy.
- One time funding from reserves in 2023 and 2024 of $750,000 per year to support Council’s Strategic Plan implementation.
- Explore utilities revenue, and what would be required to achieve a utility dividend of $3 million in 2023 and 2024
- Increase reserve levels
- Change the Capital Contingency Policy to allow the City Manager to address new projects from a maximum of $50,000 per project and $200,000 a year.
- Bring forward an operating contingency policy, like the Capital Contingency Policy.
- Bring forward a tax supported operating reserve policy for emergent and urgent issues.
“Like other municipalities, The City is facing unprecedented financial challenges stemming from the economic slowdown, extraordinary inflation, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 recovery, provincial downloads and reduced and uncertain government grants. Recognizing the reality of today, we had to find ways to stay within guidelines to reach the tax increase based on Council direction given in March 2022,” said Tara Lodewyk, City Manager. “We find ourselves in a situation that is a culmination of many factors that have led us to a bit of a perfect storm when it comes to supporting our community, while maintaining a tax rate that is not only supported by Council, but by our community.”
“We worked alongside our organization to develop short and long-term strategies to get us back on track financially,” said Lodewyk. “The City of Red Deer has remained in a reasonable financial condition. However, as we look to the future, we know we need to be ready for the next opportunity that comes to our community. These events can be welcome, like the return of economic growth to our community and area, or could challenge us in new ways, like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Council will deliberate the 2023-2024 operating and capital budgets from November 28 to November 30, 2022.
“This budget appreciates the great community we live in, recognizes where we are at today, and takes responsibility for our future,” said Lodewyk. “Administration and I delivered a budget to Council that respects their guidelines, focuses on maintaining the high quality-of-life Red Deerians love and expect, while recognizing we are all feeling the same impacts of inflation in our homes and businesses.”
Residents are encouraged to review the budgets and plans online and provide feedback to City Council through an online comment form. Hard copies of budget binders will be available at City Hall, Downtown Public Library, GH Dawe Public Library and Timberlands Branch Public Library starting tomorrow through November 18. Visit www.reddeer.ca/budget for all the details.
For more information, please contact:
Community & Public Relations
The City of Red Deer