Update: Red Deer city council to hear midyear budget review

Revenue shortage will be a problem at capital budget time

Difficult discussions will begin today about how the City of Red Deer will face up to the next capital budget with decreased municipal revenues.

While there are signs the local economy is improving, 2017 has been a difficult year.

City manager Craig Curtis said the impact of the fiscal “trough” Red Deer is just coming out of is being felt with less-than-expected revenues from transit, recreation and development. Even commercial wastewater fees are less than anticipated so far in 2017 — presumably because industry has not been as active.

“Our revenues are significantly down,” said Curtis, who feels “we’ve had many challenges this year.”

He knows lower revenues will impact the 2018 capital budget, due to be discussed in December and January.

This subject will begin to be broached at today’s mid-year budget review council meeting that will include a financial overview by Dean Krejci, the City of Red Deer’s chief financial officer.

Also under discussion will be the city’s partnership with Blackfalds and Lacombe in the Northern Regional Waterline and Sewer capacity.

Despite the city’s financial difficulties, Red Deer has to make this investment to ensure there are adequate services for new developments north of Hwy 11A, said Curtis. The good news is the purchase price “is less than we thought.”

Two ambulance replacements because of road accidents, and spending for an Canada Winter Games Plaza on 48th Avenue are also up for discussion at the morning meeting in council chambers.

Curtis believes the city’s financial picture is looking up for 2018, since there’s more job growth in the area, and the Conference Board of Canada projects a 2.2 per cent growth in GDP from more oil-related activities.

The review begins at 9 a.m. in council chambers.

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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