Council approves 2014 budget

December 17, 2013/ For Immediate Release

AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – Following the direction set through their 2014 Strategic Priorities, Council approved the City of Airdrie’s 2014 operating and capital budget on December 16. The overall budget will result in a property tax increase of 3.44 per cent or an increase of $4.23 per month for the average residential home and $35.50 per month for the average commercial property in Airdrie, generating an additional $1,255,600 in additional tax revenue.

“I’d like to thank the staff and members of the Finance Advisory Committee for their long hours and dedication to ensuring we’re able to provide Airdrie residents with a strong budget that maintains quality services and takes a step in the right direction in saving for the future,” said Mayor Peter Brown.

With a projected 7.6 per cent population increase for 2014, Airdrie continues to experience a strong growth rate. However, the majority of this growth is residential. Strategic planning is important for moving the organization forward. In most cases, strategic priorities require the infusion of financial resources to be successful. The resources funneled into priorities, as well as new initiatives, act as an investment to the community’s future prosperity.

Community investment into Council’s economic prosperity priority today is anticipated to result in additional future commercial activity. Any added commercial business within the City has great positive impact, specifically on additional job opportunities and increasing the portion of the non-residential assessment base. A second top-of-mind priority is well-managed growth. This priority works together with the priority of economic development. Other Council priorities include financial and resource commitment to the 2014 Summer Games, the Community Investment Fund and providing on-line services through the City Website.

“The Finance Advisory Committee recommended a 2.85 per cent increase in property tax, and the budget that passed was very close to this number. I think our residents will be happy with the budget, and I’m confident service levels won’t be affected,” said Finance Committee Chair Ron Chapman. “We have a lot of exciting things happening in Airdrie, such as curbside organics and groups such as Volunteer Airdrie, yet we’re still managing to contribute to reserves for the future.”

Total Operating Budget is $98MM. This budget is broken down into two Funds.

General Operating Fund budget highlights:

Revenue - $70 MM

  • New tax revenue from growth ($2.1 million)
  • New tax revenue (3.44% per cent tax increase) $1.3MM
  • Increase in franchise fee ($457,000)
  • Increase in user fees ($505,000)
  • Increase in licenses and permits ($1,183,000)

Expenses - $74 Million

  • Increase in personnel costs ($4.5 Million)
  • Increase in policing contract ($637,000)
  • Increase in goods and supplies ($81,000)
  • Increase in grants to other groups ($287,000)

Utility Fund budget highlights:

New services set to commence in 2014 include Curbside Organics and Utility Monthly billing. The contribution to the operating fund for 2014 is $3.8MM

Revenue - $28MM

  • Increase in sales and user charges ($4.4 million)

Expenses - $24MM

  • Increase in non-unionized personnel costs ($560,000)
  • Increase in purchases (water and wastewater) from the City of Calgary ($2.1MM)Increase in contracted goods and services ($1.1MM)
  • Increase in utility rates of 15.06 per cent to compensate for rates increase from the City of Calgary, and facilitate curbside organics.

The City’s capital budget provides for major renovation expenditures and construction of new infrastructure and facilities. Priority is given to those projects enabling the achievement of Council’s Strategic Priorities and implementation of approved City plans. The City first looks to fund capital projects with grants or developer contributions. When such funds are insufficient, the City will use debenture financing and /or draws on reserves. Over the next three years, engineering structures makes up the bulk of capital needs followed by buildings.

2014 Capital budget highlights - $43MM

  • Relocation of the Main Street Fire Station $3.6MM
  • Land and Construction for a Transit Park and Ride $2.3MM
  • 40th Ave – 8th Street to Reynolds Gate $6.5MM
  • Reservoir Pumphouse – West Airdrie $12.6MM

The City requires a 3.44 per cent increase in the overall municipal tax revenue to implement the approved budget. The new tax rate will be set in the spring of 2014.

As part of the budget process, the 2015 and 2016 budgets are projected. The future projections indicate a need for an increase in revenue sources or a decrease in expenditures.

The approved 2014 budget will be available online at www.airdrie.ca in January 2014.

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Media contact:

Lucy Wiwcharuk, Director of Corporate Services
City of Airdrie
(403) 948-8800 (ext. 8459)

 

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