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Today, City Administration released its proposed adjustments to the 2011 Business Plans and Budgets.
These proposed adjustments will be considered by City Council when they meet to discuss the 2011 Business Plans and Budgets, currently scheduled to begin November 29 at 9:30 a.m.
The annual adjustments process allows Council to respond to changes in the local economy by modifying the original budget plans to reflect changing needs and to ensure affordability for Calgarians.
“Recognizing Calgary’s economy is continuing to recover from the downturn and that a top priority for Calgarians is to live in an affordable city, all City departments were asked to find ways to reduce costs, said Eric Sawyer, The City’s Chief Financial Officer.
“City staff worked very hard to find ways to achieve the cost reductions and show that we are listening to Calgarians’ needs for delivery of City services at affordable property tax rates,” he added.
The proposed 2011 adjustments to business plans and budgets will result in:
- A 2011 budget that is in line with the previously-approved 6.7% property tax rate increase for 2011. This would result in an increase in property tax of approximately $6.60 per month for the median assessed household.
- No increase in the business tax rate for the 18th consecutive year.
The recommendations proposed for Council consideration are not solely focused on cost reductions; the proposal also preserves growth in the 2011 plans and budgets for a number of priority programs and services, including:
- $8.2 million for 65 new additional sworn officers in the Calgary Police Service.
- $2 million for the Calgary Public Library.
- $2.2 million for Public Safety Communications (9-1-1).
- $3.7 million for The Calgary Fire Department which will be used for the Saddle Ridge, Sage Hill and Emergency Operations Centre.
At the same time, the proposed adjustments accommodate increases to the 2011 operating budget to accommodate urgent or emerging needs such as:
- $10 million provision for improved snow and ice control.
- $1 million for one-time operating shortfalls for the Talisman Centre.
- $1.3 million for sustainment of Tangible Capital Assets to meet Public Sector Accounting Board requirements.
- $1 million funding to achieve the full staff complement for the Sage Hill Fire Station.
To address the projected shortfall of $47.4 million, the proposed 2011 adjustments also include select service reductions and other mitigation measures to help reduce the financial impact on citizens including:
- A $3.7 million reduction for the Calgary Fire Department which will be achieved through a combination of administrative efficiencies and a reduction in shift capacity to accommodate training.
- A $3.3 million reduction for Parks reflecting better asset reporting, fleet right-sizing and reduced seasonal maintenance work.
- A reduction of $1.4 million for Calgary Transit for cleaning staff.
- An additional reduction of $465,000 for Calgary Transit for parking lot maintenance
- The elimination of the Access Calgary Extra program.
- A reduction of $950,000 for Community & Neighbourhood Services.
- The elimination of the Surplus School Sites Program in the Office of Land Servicing & Housing.
- A reduction of $234,000 for Assessment expenditures.
- A reduction of $786,000 for IT to sustain internal/external websites
- A Reduction of $1.25 million in the previously approved Civic Partners budget increase.
Administration has also provided Council with an additional $35 million of potential options to reduce the 2011 business plans and budgets.
City Council will meet to review and debate these proposed 2011 adjustments beginning on November 29 at 9:30 a.m. following a non-statutory public hearing in Council Chambers.
Calgarians are invited to attend these discussions and those who wish to make a verbal or written submission to Council are invited to do so at a public hearing in Council Chambers on November 29.