Tuesday, November 29, 2011

City Council Approves 2012-2014 Business Plans and budgets

Today, City Council approved the 2012-2014 business plans and budgets. Council’s decisions address the operating and capital budgets, performance measures, and strategies departments will implement to deliver City services over the next three years.

"Council, through their deliberations, have approved a balanced budget for the 2012-2014 three-year cycle, and maintained investments in services that Calgarians value and that they have identified as priorities,” said Chief Financial Officer Eric Sawyer.

During deliberation, Council approved a number of key changes to the proposed business plans and budgets from 2012 to 2014 including, but not limited to, the following:

Calgary Police Service
  • Reinstate $5.1 million in base budget reduction in 2012.
  • An additional $18 million for 122 positions over three years to maintain the current level of service.
Community Services & Protective Services
  • $1.7 million to Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) established to develop, support and fund preventive social services. Agencies and programs funded by FCSS aim to strengthen neighbourhoods and increase social inclusion in vulnerable populations like immigrants, Aboriginal people, families, children and youth, and seniors.
  • Reinstate $1.85 million in base budget reductions to support park maintenance with one-time funding from the Fiscal Stability Reserve (no impact on tax rate).
  • $6 million to Calgary Transit to maintain service hours at current level.
  • $1.8 million in support of the implementation of the Cycling Strategy which includes development of guidelines and further planning for the Cycling Strategy, education, and promotion.
  • $20 increase to the price of senior annual transit pass to $55 in 2012, with decisions on 2013 and 2014 deferred.
  • Establish a reserve fund with $3.5 million each in 2012 and 2013, from the Fiscal Stability Reserve, used exclusively for residential snow clearing during particularly long or high-snow winters in accordance with Council’s approved snow clearing policy. The fund is replenished by the Roads budget surplus in low snow winters.
  • An additional $400,000 to be allocated to pathway snow removal.
Civic Partners
  • $225,000 increase to the 2012 base funding of the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA), and a $220,000 one-time funding each year for cSPACE projects.
  • Additional one-time funding of $400,000 each year for the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts or until a naming sponsor is identified.
  • Additional $150,000 of one-time funding from the Fiscal Stability Reserve in 2012 and 2013 for the Calgary Sports Tourism Authority.
  • Additional $141,000 of one-time funding from the Fiscal Stability Reserve in 2012 only for TELUS Spark, Calgary’s new science centre.
Within the approved budget, approximately $36 million will be drawn from the Fiscal Stability Reserve for one-time and contingency funding, leaving a balance close to $200 million by the end of 2014. Funding drawn from the Fiscal Stability Reserve has no impact on the property tax rate; however, it reduces the reserve fund available to address unplanned or one-time events. Investment income and any surplus from each year will be reinvested into the Reserve.

Examples of services that will be delivered within the approved 2012-2014 business plans and budgets include:
  • Maintaining Calgary’s standards for fire safety and coverage with new emergency response stations opening in Douglas Glen and Seton.
  • Maintaining current level of service for social and community programs and initiatives for low-income seniors, families and at-risk youths.
  • Enhanced snow clearing on priority routes.
  • Operation of the new West LRT line, optimization of transit service by matching frequency with demand and using community shuttles on less-travelled routes.
  • Additional bike lanes and enhancements on cycling infrastructure based on implementation of the cycling strategy.
The approved three-year budget will result in property tax rate increases of 6.0% in 2012, 5.7% in 2013 and 6.1% in 2014 or monthly increases of approximately $6.60, $6.60, and $7.50, respectively for an average home in Calgary. Citizens may find additional fee and rate increases depending on the specific City services they use including utilities, transit and recreation.  Please note that the approved three-year business plans and budgets are unofficial until confirmation by City Clerks.

The final property tax rates for each of the three years will be approved in April of each year, once The City has received the provincial government’s property tax requisition.

The City will continue to monitor current economic events and their impact on municipal services. The multi-year business planning and budget process allows The City to react to unforeseen changes and respond to changing economic circumstances through the business plans and budgets adjustment process each year. The flexibility built in to the three-year approach allows Council to make necessary changes from a position of knowing what is critical and adjusting the business plans and budgets to retain a longer-term perspective.

Highlights of approved changes to the proposed plans and budgets are summarized online through www.calgary.ca/ourfuture. The final, approved 2012-2014 business plans and budgets document will be available January 2012.

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