Round Table discussion on tax cuts.
As mentioned in my November 6, 2022, update. Thank you, we have had a lot of feedback from residents, around this topic.
During today's, November 15, 2022, council meeting at 1:30pm, we are looking to have a discussion with council, and I would like to open this discussion with interested residents. We have had a lot of feedback with messages and emails since my Nov 6 announcement. This will be the 1st of 3 round table discussions.
discussion will be around
tax cuts and property assessments, with residents.
The City and staff have done very well this year figuring out its proper tax rates and budget. The City currently has over a $5,000,000 budget savings for 2022. Additionally, we now have our Developers paying more. We have completed the backlog of engineering and planning on twinning rainbow road south of Chst Blvd. Both, paving rainbow road north and twinning rainbow road south will commence in the spring of 2023. Which yes, we are trying to add traffic circles. Twinning discussions of Chst Blvd are still underway with Calgary.
If you'll remember, when our council came in 2021, our first year, we recalculated how much extra tax the City was over charging residents.
We determined that the budget was over by approximately $12,000,000. Plus, administration at the time wanted us to raise taxes by over $1,000,000.
We disagreed, though to be cautious we agreed to not raise taxes by $1,000,000 and we agreed to cut the budget by $3,000,000 and to repurpose a further $5,000,000 into new council initiatives, some such as a Spray Park, Skate Park, tax cuts and doubling social program funding. We still have the funds for the Skate Park and Spray Park and expect to get those projects going this coming year.
Now, that we have proven the over taxing, we are looking to provide significant tax cuts for 2023, as we have a $5,000,000 savings.
We firmly believe there is still savings to achieve, though we are also keeping our focus on increasing our revenue streams, primarily in our commercial expansion.
The City is also expecting additional revenue with our new residential growth. Which will give us an opportunity to explore improved operational efficiency and planning.
Ultimately, the City is planning to create a base tax that future councils and administration can follow and live within the budgets, likely based on a per household calculation. Rather than just making up a budget each year, giving residents more certainty. We will push the city to follow a budget and allocate according to it.
From this base tax, the City and residents can choose to add certain projects, such as a Recreation Fund. Though, it should be completely separate. A separate line item on your tax bill and put into a separate bank account, specifically for that project or its intended use. Easily reconciled and for the public to clearly see where their funds are and not to co-mingel with other city funds.
There can be other funds also. Such as a Heritage Fund and Infrastructure Reserve Fund, along with aggressively paying our high debt down.
This is an exciting time for Chestermere, and we are getting our house in order.
For those that cannot make it today, we are online and will have a post that provides an update on today's discussion.