At Tuesday evening’s Committee of the Whole Meeting of Council, the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer presented the draft operating and capital budget for 2020.
The draft budget proposes a 2% cut to property taxes.
If approved by Council, this would be the third year in a row of reductions. Previous Council had approved a 2% increase to taxes for 2018. The current Council reduced that to a 0.9% tax increase for that year. They also approved a 2% tax cut for the 2019 budget.
“Our Administration understands that our residents are facing challenging economic circumstances and they have drafted a budget that reflects that reality,” says Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers.
“While we still need to dig through every detail of the proposed budget, we are eager to find savings and efficiencies for our community. Last year, we were the only municipality we know of to pursue a tax cut and we have every intention of cutting taxes again this year.”
In order to achieve successive years of tax decreases, Administration consolidated and reviewed many types of expenditures, found more efficiencies and updated the budget process to use actual historical spending trends.
Highlights from the proposed budget include:
- Identifying which activities may have been taxed in a prior year, to ensure they were not taxed again
- Breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration by matching oversight of activity to respective departments
- Projecting growth that aligns with the economic environment
- A deeper review and analysis of historical spending to determine if patterns exist
As with the 2019 Budget, no capital projects are proposed to be funded by property taxes.
The budget also provided some items for consideration outside of the draft budget, which include:
- A request from Chestermere Public Library for an increase to the existing grant
- Consideration to suspend the Financial Policy of setting aside funds from matured debts for the 2020 year
- Exploring the possible purchase of the Rec Centre Land from Rocky View County
Budget meetings will continue over the next several weeks. The public is welcome to attend. Dates and times are listed at www.chestermere.ca/budget.
The final budget is expected to be approved in December.