2017 City of Red Deer operating budget “challenging”

2.51 per cent property tax increase projected; user fees frozen

“We have a lot of challenges,” City of Red Deer manager Craig Curtis said on Thursday when the 2017 draft operating budget documents were released.

The budget shows a property tax increase of $3.1 million (2.51 per cent). Before the pencil sharpening began, initial budget figures were close to a double-digit increase in taxes, he said.

Dean Krejci, the city’s chief financial officer outlined the budget summary, which shows an operating budget in 2017 projected at $357 million.

Of that, about $239 million is supported with tax and other revenue such licences and user fees. The rest comes from the city’s utilities component ($97 million) and self-supported operations ($21 million). Numbers have been rounded off.

The proposed budget breaks down as 1.29 per cent, plus one per cent for capital projects, and amenities and growth, plus 0.22 per cent to cover the new carbon tax. The provincial tax is expected to cost the city $280,000 in 2017.

As it stands now, the impact of the draft budget would be about $50 per year on a home with an assessment value of $325,000.

This does not include changes to the educational portion of property taxes, which won’t be known until the province releases its budget in the spring.

Curtis said the city is seeing a significant drop in revenues from Transit, recreation, and building permit fees. Some projects and objectives will have to be slowed down, but the city is focused on maintaining core services.

The economic slowdown in Alberta is mostly to blame for the tougher conditions the city is experiencing. An example of the impact is construction growth, which usually brings in about $3 million, is projected to be only $1.3 million in 2017.

Craig said a lot of citizens are struggling in this economy, and the city needed to be cautious.

On that note, the city intends to freeze some user fees for 2017, including those for Transit and recreation and parks facilities. The city also plans to increase its Fee Assistance Program for eligible residents.

Curtis noted that the province has decided to provide low-income transit pass funding to Edmonton and Calgary, but not to mid-sized cities such as Red Deer.

Mayor Tara Veer, on behalf of Alberta mid-sized cities, wrote to the provincial government last month expressing concern that they were excluded from the program.

Council begins budget deliberations on Jan. 10.

barr@reddeeradvcoate.com

Just Posted

For new Tory MP Alex Ruff, this year’s Remembrance Day brings changes

OTTAWA — Alex Ruff, a retired colonel with 25 years in the… Continue reading

High volume of Cherry complaints has CBSC at limit of processing capacity

TORONTO — The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council has been so overloaded with… Continue reading

Sportsnet cuts ties with Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy

TORONTO — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry was… Continue reading

Red Deer residents honour veterans in great numbers

Our soldiers paid the ultimate price to give us peace and freedom.… Continue reading

Canadians to mark Remembrance Day this morning

OTTAWA — Canadians will gather at cenotaphs and monuments across the country… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Sportsnet cuts ties with Don Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy

TORONTO — Sportsnet has cut ties with “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcaster… Continue reading

For new Tory MP Alex Ruff, this year’s Remembrance Day brings changes

OTTAWA — Alex Ruff, a retired colonel with 25 years in the… Continue reading

Stampeders mourn loss of chance to repeat as Grey Cup champs on home turf

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders’ season was short by their own standards.… Continue reading

High volume of Cherry complaints has CBSC at limit of processing capacity

TORONTO — The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council has been so overloaded with… Continue reading

Sportsnet cuts ties with Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy

TORONTO — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry was… Continue reading

A Whole New World: Disney streaming debuts with hit brands

NEW YORK — Disney will sprinkle its pixie dust on the streaming… Continue reading

Most Read