City of Red Deer administration presented council with the proposed amended 2024 operating and capital budget, during the Monday (Jan. 8) meeting.
Council originally approved this year's budget as part of the 2023/2024 budget in November 2022. However, administration took a second look, as the city faces challenges including inflation, decreased revenue, and less funds from other levels of government.
With ongoing challenges, administration presented a budget amendment request of approximately $16 million.
“Administration is proposing an amended budget that balances the need to maintain the services our citizens rely on and value, while also considering long-term sustainability,” said City Manager Tara Lodewyk. “We are being transparent about our current challenges and realities: our revenues are reduced, and our expenses have increased significantly. Continuing on the same path of using reserves to make up for this difference in our budget is not sustainable. This budget signals a crucial change of course toward a strong financial foundation and focusing on the importance of enabling growth.”
The budget includes recommended scenarios for property tax increases above and beyond the previously approved 4.1 per cent, ranging from 7 to 9 per cent.
A typical Red Deer home assessed at $345,000 would represent a tax increase of between $176 and $226 per year, a City of Red Deer media release said.
“When council approved the two-year budget in 2022, our economic reality was significantly different than it is now,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “Like our counterparts across the province, we’re facing tremendous economic pressures that are making it increasingly difficult to balance costs and funding sources while also investing in the future of our community. At the same time, we also know these same economic pressures are affecting the household budgets of our citizens, so we need to be deliberate and prudent in our decisions.”
Residents can review the full budget documents, and provide input here.
Council will deliberate the amended budget between Jan. 23 and Jan. 26.