Council approves 2018 budget
Dec. 4, 2017/ For Immediate Release
AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – At the December 4, 2017 meeting, Council approved the 2018 Operating and Capital Budgets.
The Council Budget Committee deliberated in November to arrive at a recommended operating budget of $140,162,761 and a capital budget of $53,656,040.
“Creating a community budget that balances needs and resources is always a challenging task but I’m pleased with the approach this Council has taken,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “We have some significant capital and operating initiatives coming in the near future and we’ve taken a proactive approach to prepare for those costs, while recognizing that many families in our community may still be experiencing financial difficulties as the economy recovers. Small steps in this direction will help keep our community vibrant and sustainable.”
“As a municipality, our first job is to use tax dollars responsibly. We work hard to take the vision of Council and bring back a responsible, efficient path forward to achieve those goals,” says City Manager Paul Schulz. “Our staff have done an excellent job of balancing the needs of our growing community with our ability to maintain current service levels.”
The City utilizes a variety of methods to educate residents on the budgeting process, and to solicit feedback from residents of issues that matter to them. All budget presentations and complete budget information is available online at www.airdrie.ca/budget.
2018 Operating Fund Budget Highlights
- A property tax increase of 4.08 percent is included with one percent going directly into the tax stabilization reserve fund to assist in the cost of future services related to library, fire, police and recreation.
- Services have remained status quo with the exception of Airdrie Transit which will receive an additional $524,000 for a year of new transit services (these services were launched September 2017 and see increased frequency for the 900 route, to CrossIron Mills and Calgary, a fixed route service to replace Dial-a-bus and the implementation of OnDemand.)
- The Airdrie Public Library grant will increase by $87,300 to $1,881,965 and Airdrie Housing Limited will see an increase of $10,000 to $170,000.
- Six additional RCMP officers have been requested for 2018, with a specialized two officers for mental health to begin on June 1, 2018. The City’s contract with the RCMP will see an increase of $590,000.
- Long term debt has decreased by $409,000 and is a result of the City taking on new debt for roadways and retiring debt for historical projects such as Genesis Place Phase I.
Overall Operational Highlights (includes Operating and Utility Fund Budgets)
- Operational expenditures have increased by 4 percent.
- Personnel costs have increased by $3.7MM which includes the cost of salaries, wages and benefits for 23 additional full-time positions to assist with managing operations (overall, personnel costs make up approximately 40 percent of all City budgets and are the area of greatest pressure). In 2017, the population grew by 4.98 percent. This growth equates to an increased need for services, with demands seen across all departments. Future projections expect Airdrie will continue to grow at a five percent rate annually.
- The total operating cost of water, power and gas has increased $430,000 year over year.
2018 Utility Fund Highlights
- Waste and Recycling will see an overall decrease of $1.1MM. This decrease relates to the new curbside recycling program (launched spring 2017) and a favourable contract rate obtained through the tender process.
- An additional $210,000 was earmarked to begin Phase III of recycling in public facilities.
- The water and sewer budget will increase by $2.7MM as a result of rising infrastructure maintenance costs and increased fees from our service provider, the City of Calgary.
- The average household is expected to experience a monthly increase of $8.66.
2018 Capital Fund Budget Highlights
- Transportation and engineered structures make up the largest part of the capital budget at $29MM.
- $3MM for detailed design of the Yankee Valley Grade Separation. Project funding in the 10 year capital plan spans to 2021, at a total cost of $31MM.
- Development funded, roadway project at Yankee Valley Blvd and 24 Street south will proceed at a budgeted cost of $10MM.
- $2.4MM was included to support Airdrie Transit and will see the construction of bus shelters, transit zone improvements along with several new busses and rehabilitation projects. In 2019, $5.6MM will further lifecycle aging fleet and expand the South Park and Ride. All Airdrie Transit expenditures are eligible to be two thirds covered by Provincial GreenTRIP funding.
- Design for a new public library will continue in 2018 with the 10 year capital budget marking $21MM in 2019 for construction.
Each year, City administration prepares a three-year operating budget and ten-year rolling capital budget driven by Council’s strategic priorities and business plan goals with consideration of a number of master planning documents. During annual budget deliberations with Council Budget Committee, the first year of the each budget is reviewed in detail, with subsequent years reviewed for possible new services, implications of new facilities or other pressures on the horizon. The current year of each budget is adopted by Council, with subsequent years plans accepted for information.
Director, Corporate Services
City of Airdrie