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Calgary to hire consultant to help trim $74 million from city budget

Calgary will hire an external consultant to help find at least $74 million in operational savings by 2022.

According to a release from the city, they’re hoping to find the cash while maintaining or improving service delivery. The program is called the Solutions for Achieving Value and Excellence (SAVE).

In July last year, $60 million was cut from Calgary budgets. Recent budget adjustments saw the city increase their budget and the tax rate, but then covered it with $24 million in one-time cash. The city release states they’ll immediately need to find that $24 million for 2021 and then another $50 million by the start of 2022.

“These ambitious savings targets will help to further modernize our municipal government, reduce costs and support our continued efforts to streamline and be more efficient in our operations,” said David Duckworth, City Manager, in a prepared news release.

“Our goal is to ensure every dollar is invested wisely and that we continue to deliver the high-quality services that Calgarians value at an affordable rate.”

Concern of future budget problems expressed last November

Some councillors were concerned at the November budget adjustment meeting that they were just punting the budget problem down the road and that the cash they were fronting to save programs today was money they’d have to cut tomorrow.

“I’m not sure if it’s going to be any better – it might even be worse – than the last one,” said Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal during those meetings, of upcoming budgets.

“I don’t know if we’re well prepared to weather that storm as it potentially comes and hits us.”

The Request for Proposal (RFP) was submitted to market today (Jan. 15). The consultant will be brought in to work with city administration to “accelerate and augment” their current efforts.

Due to the need for immediate solutions, the city hopes to bring in the consultant for April 2020, so the initial budget savings for 2021 can be introduced at the November 2020 budget adjustment meetings.