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Final municipal tax set; Calgary strategic budget direction approved

The same day that Calgary city council finalized a 3.61 per cent overall municipal tax rate increase, it also laid the groundwork for the upcoming four-year budget.

Council discussed both items on day two of their combined meeting of council on Wednesday.

The province required $12.8 million in additional property tax requisition from Calgary. The city also found $6.3 million in additional savings in this year’s budget.

The result is a typical single residential homeowner paying $14 per month more. ($485,000 home with a residential assessment increase greater than the six per cent overall.)  

Councillors asked several questions on how the tax rate was compiled, but in the end, the mover, Coun. Kourtney Penner said it amounted to procedure. She said it’s what they’d essentially agreed upon in November. The difference is more money required by the province and further savings found by the city.

Strategic direction

Administration will build and council will refine a new, four-year budget document later this year. It sets the path for Calgary spending from 2023 through 2026.

The strategic direction document will guide how that next budget is built.

“Calgarians want to see value for the taxes and fees that we pay,” said City Manager David Duckworth.

“And the value is reflected in the services we deliver in a way that matters most to Calgarians.”

The document (below) is broken down into three key areas: Council’s Foundation, Council’s Guiding Principles and Council’s Focus Areas.  Each of those is broken down even further.

It does get into some specifics in the focus areas.

Revitalizing the downtown, social equity were higher-level examples, but the document does talk about revamping the city’s land-use bylaw, local area plans, the Green Line and MAX BRT system, along with greening the city fleet.

They also look at attracting major events that help rebuild the local hospitality economy.

The document comes after multiple closed-door strategic sessions of council. For the most part, councillors were on board. Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean asked if the document would be made public.

“I know we’ve talked a lot about it. Everybody’s got a lot of different input,” Coun. McLean said.

“And I’m just going to say, I think one of the things is that we all have our own ideals on it. This is not my strategic direction of it but… it’s City Council’s as a whole.”

Calgary City Council Strate… by Darren Krause