Council approves 2020 budget
Dec. 2, 2019/For immediate release
AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – After four meetings of deliberation, Council approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets at the Dec. 2, 2019 Council meeting.
“Balancing community wants and needs with the resources required to support them is a difficult task,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “Council’s strategic priorities guided our discussion and our ultimate decisions about this budget. We recognize that many families and businesses in our community are still experiencing financial difficulties in this unpredictable economy and I think this budget reflects that.”
Council approved an operating budget of $156,525,874 and a capital budget of $60,304,695. The overall effect to the average residential homeowner with an assessed value of $405,000 is projected to be $28 annually or $2.33 per month.
The 2020 budget will raise an additional $906,000 in tax revenue:
|Tax stabilization reserve||1.25%||$750,000|
|Municipal services (not including protective services)||-2.33%||($1,398,000)|
|Total tax revenue increase||1.51%||$906,000|
Utility fees cover the cost of water, sewer and waste management. Utility rates will be increasing slightly in 2020, mainly due to increased costs from the City of Calgary, which have been partially offset by savings in contracted services.
As well as the property tax increase, a one per cent increase to franchise fees was approved. Franchise fees are similar to rent that utility companies pay for being allowed to access City land and to provide exclusive service within City boundaries. This fee is passed on to residents by service providers.
Year over year comparison based on an average residential household annual cost:
The cost of protective services - Police, Fire and Municipal Enforcement – year over year is $1.5MM which is equivalent to a 2.59 per cent tax revenue increase. The 2019 budget included four additional firefighters, two additional RCMP officers and five additional RCMP administrative staff. The additional tax dollars raised will cover a full year (2020) complement for these resources. The additional dollars will also cover the cost associated with enhanced community animal services. The competition for the service is currently in the negotiation stage.
1.25 per cent of the increase will go directly to the tax stabilization fund. These funds will be used to keep tax rate increases stable in future years when operating costs for the new library facility (projected to be opened in 2023), the City’s fourth fire hall (scheduled to open in 2024) and the new west side recreation centre get added into the operating budget.
Municipal taxes cover the cost of civic services including park maintenance, recreation, street sweeping, engineering services, snow removal, community growth, infrastructure, social planning, community development, administration and more. Services in these areas have been maintained or cut back to make room for budget pressures and to move other Council’s priorities forward, as mentioned below in ‘other budget highlights.’ User fees and charges have been increased to help offset the cost of delivering municipal services. Transit will add Access Airdrie service on Saturdays, however, Council has cancelled On-Demand service.
Over the next three years, the City’s capital spending is projected to be within the $60-87MM range annually. The capital budget includes major projects such as the new library facility, building a new fire hall in the northeast, downtown core infrastructure redevelopment and the Yankee Valley Blvd. underpass. Over the next four years, approximately $15MM will be invested in downtown core infrastructure. The capital budget includes funds for replacing old city assets with new ones and upgrades to the Town and Country Centre and Nose Creek Valley Museum.
Other budget highlights
The 2020 budget includes $600,000 for Blue Zones through Abriohealth. This initiative aims to support Airdrie residents in maintaining and furthering their physical, mental and spiritual health.
A major capital project, the 40 Avenue interchange to Highway II, is included in 2020 at $32.5MM. This partially funds the interchange with offsite levies and grants. Lobbying efforts will continue for provincial funding for this critical community need.
New staff have been added to further Council’s strategic priorities of expanding and diversifying citizen engagement and expanding community facilities. Approximately $6.5MM in capital dollars will go toward planning a multi-use facility, which will house the library, and further planning for the new regional recreation centre.
Each year, City administration prepares a three-year operating budget and a ten-year capital budget driven by Council’s strategic priorities and business plan goals. During annual budget deliberations, the Council Budget Committee reviews the first year of each budget in detail and reviews subsequent years for possible new services, facilities or other pressures on the horizon. The current year of each budget is adopted by Council, with subsequent years accepted for information.
The City uses a variety of methods to educate residents on the budgeting process. Complete budget information and budget presentations are available at www.airdrie.ca/budget
403.948.8800 ext. 8243