City’s 2017 operating budget coming to council

Proposed $357-million budget

City council starts digging into details of Red Deer’s 2017 draft operating budget on Tuesday.

A property tax increase of $3.1 million, or 2.51 per cent, is proposed for the $357-million operating budget.

The impact of the draft budget would be about $50 per year on a home with an assessment value of $325,000 — that 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.

About $239 million of the city’s operating budget is supported by tax and other revenue such licences and user fees. The remaining comes from the city’s utilities component, at $97 million, and self-supported operations, at $21 million.

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce has asked council not to increase property taxes because of the fragile state of the economy and additional costs for businesses like the minimum wage and corporate tax increases, the carbon tax and other service fees.

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance wants the city’s existing fee assistance program expanded to include residents earning less than a living wage which the alliance has calculated to be $29,102 for a parent with one child, $28,504 for a couple with two children, and $28,236 for a resident with no children.

Operating budget meetings are scheduled to run until Jan. 20.

In addition to the operating budget on Tuesday, council will consider:

  • Options to amend the school and playground zones times to reduce confusion among motorists and improve the safety of students.
  • The Red Deer Royals be recognized as official ambassadors for the city.

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