The Red Deer City Council completed three more days of deliberation for their 2024 operating and capital budget. They’ve updated the approved budget to include a tax increase of 6.15 per cent which will result in a tax revenue increase of $9.3 million.  

Before budget amendments, the tax increase was projected to be within six and nine per cent. The Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce had concluded that the tax increase was unsustainable. However, Mayor Ken Johnston says this budget was an especially challenging one.  

“This is, without question, one of the more challenging budgets I have been part of in my time on Council,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “Over the last two days, we have had difficult conversations and in-depth debate on how to best situate our community for growth and success in a financially responsible way. Today, City Council approved a budget that aims to strike a balance – a budget that considers the tax impact at a time when inflation is significantly affecting both our citizens and the City, while continuing to invest in the programs and services our citizens need and expect in Red Deer.”  

A 6.15 per cent municipal tax increase for 2024 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 in the 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. 

“My Council colleagues and I are keenly aware that any increase in costs impacts our residents, especially given today’s economic climate; however, the increased property tax increase is critical in order to ensure we can continue providing the services that keep our city running,” said Mayor Johnston.   

The approved increase of 6.15 per cent in 2024 equates to an additional $9.3 million in municipal tax revenue. In relation to a typical home assessed at $345,000 in Red Deer, this would equal a municipal property tax increase of $154.63 per year, $12.89 per month, or an average weekly increase of $2.97 towards the services Red Deerians rely on each day.   

The City of Red Deer’s budget covers the essential services residents use every day. This includes everything from the roads we drive on, the water we drink, the streetlights that guide our way, the recreation facilities we enjoy, and emergency services and municipal police who keep us safe and healthy.   

“The budget approved by City Council today considers the many external pressures we as a municipality face during times of higher costs, slower recovery, and reduced revenues. And we know we are not alone in this; we know we have citizens and businesses in our community who face these same pressures,” said City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “Administration provided a transparent and honest picture of our financial situation and the work ahead to change our path before it is unmanageable. City Council approved a budget that will enable us as an organization to continue to provide services to our community and recognized the work Council and administration needs to do to change our path forward. This budget is not just about 2024, it is about planning for the years to come.”   

Some of the highlights of the amended 2024 budget include:   

  • Funding for municipal by-election, but reduced from $450,000 to $350,000 

  • Funding for an Integrity Commissioner, but reduced from $105,000 to $85,000. 

  • Greater Downtown Community Development Plan 

  • Software maintenance increases 

  • Stormwater infrastructure 

  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Biosolids Lagoon Liner 

  • Emergency Services CAD System Refresh  

“Over the last three days, City Council and administration worked through a budget process that focuses on core business and the critical needs of our community,” said Mike Olesen, Growth and Finance General Manager. “Working through a budget is never easy, and this year’s process was especially challenging as we worked to improve our future position. We’re looking forward to building on this work as we develop our financial management plans and systems in the coming months.”  

For more information on the budgets, click here.