Today, Red Deer City Council finished deliberating the multi-year budget for both operating and capital budgets for 2023 and 2024. The outcomes of the six-day deliberations include an approved 2023-2024 budget with a 4.61 per cent municipal increase in 2023 and 4.12 per cent in 2024.
“This year we entered into budget deliberations with a new process, and while there were some growing pains, as there always is with a new process, I am so proud of City Council for persevering and making amendments in recognition of our community,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “I also want to thank our administration who worked hard to ensure a balanced budget was presented in alignment with Council’s budget guidelines so we could streamline our decision making, and we are confident we landed in a place of balance.”
A 4.61 per cent municipal tax increase for 2023 does not mean that each individual property tax bill will change by that amount; the final amount will be determined once requisitions are provided to The City next spring. Individual property taxes may be lower, higher, or about the same based on how an individual property is assessed. Properties that experience a change in value below the average will see an increase that is below the average, while properties that experience a change in value above the average change will see an increase that is above the average.
“While City Council recognizes any increase in costs impact our residents, the approved increase is needed to keep the services we rely on each day running,” said Mayor Johnston.
The approved increase of 4.61 per cent in 2023 equates to an additional $6,501,749 in municipal tax revenue, and for 2024 an additional $6,125,835 in municipal tax revenue for a total of $12,627,586 over two years. In relation to a typical home assessed at $345,000 in Red Deer, this would equal a property tax increase of $114.81 per year, $9.57 per month, or an average weekly increase of only $2.21 towards the services Red Deerians rely on each day.
The City of Red Deer’s budget covers all the essential services residents use every day. This includes everything from the roads we drive on, the streetlights that guide our way, the recreation facilities we enjoy and emergency services and municipal police to keep us safe and healthy.
“Administration proposed this budget to Council in appreciation of the great community we live in, recognizing where we are at today, with a focus on planning for a financially sustainable future,” said City Manager, Tara Lodewyk. “This budget invests our resources towards maintaining the infrastructure and the things Red Deerians rely on while recognizing we are all feeling the same impacts of inflation in our homes and businesses.”
Some of the highlights of the 2023-2024 Budget include:
- increased funding for Red Deer Emergency Services staff
- funding towards the revitalization of Centennial Plaza Park
- funding to explore an Indigenous Cultures Centre
- a review of the Snow & Ice Control policy in 2023
- long-range financial plan and services review
- increases to several fees and charges, like recreation, transit and utilities (implementation late 2023)
- a special dividend of $800,000 one-time in each year of 2023-2024 from the Electrical Utility
- changes to Community Grant Funding, by adding specific one-time funding for Central Alberta Crime Prevention and increased one-time funding towards Sport and Recreation objectives
- a review of The City’s debt limit policy
“The 2023 and 2024 Budgets are about ensuring City services are here, safe and available to all our residents. To ensure our City is open for business, and ready for visitors,” said Mayor Johnston. “What residents don’t really see in this budget is a bunch of new and shiny things – there are no new amenities being planned, there are no big shifts in services – it is the basic costs of doing business and delivering services to our community. Council and I are confident that the multi-year budget approved today allows administration to maintain levels of service to our citizens in the most efficient and effective way possible, while ensuring our infrastructure continues to be maintained.”