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Approved Multi-Year Budget options help lower property tax targets for 2020 and 2021

For immediate release: August 1, 2019 - 2:33pm

After reviewing nine budget options brought forward by Administration, City Council at its regular meeting on July 29, 2019, selected six options to help achieve lower municipal property tax target increases of 3.94% for 2020 and 4.17% for 2021, as earlier directed by the City’s Governance and Priorities Committee.

“The options City Council approved result in lower property tax targets of 3.23% for 2020 and 3.54% for 2021,” says Kerry Tarasoff, Chief Financial Officer. “It’s important to emphasize these targets serve as a starting point. This early direction from City Council is not final, as they’ll have an opportunity for further debate through the City’s preliminary budget release this October.”

Administration was asked to report back on a list of prioritized projects with result to Gas Tax funding, options to reduce the number of print publications the City produces, and options for reducing the frequency of black cart pick-up in summer months.

City Council approved the following budget options: 

  • Option 3 – a one-time Gas Tax allocation to the organics program (reduction to property tax phase-in from reduced debt by 0.13% in each of the years 2020 and 2021);
  • Option 4 – utilize Multi-Material Stewardship Western funding towards the Waste deficit (reduction of 0.19% in each of the years 2020 and 2021);
  • Option 5 – defer all bylaw/policy required inflationary allocations (reduction of 0.15% in 2020 and 0.17% in 2021);
  • Option 6 – phase-in the Remai Civic Buildings Comprehensive Maintenance Reserve requirement over a longer period (reduction of 0.08% in 2020 and 0.04% in 2021);
  • Option 7 – defer the Recovery Park funding phase-in until 2023 (reduction of 0.10% in 2021); and
  • Option 8 – adjust the Major Transportation Funding/Bus Rapid Transit funding plan (reduction of 0.10% in each of the years 2020 and 2021).

The following budget option was defeated:

  • Option 9 – changes to the Waste program deficit and city-wide organics phase-in (reduction of 0.21% in each of the years 2020 and 2021).

The following budget options did not have enough movers to move forward, thus they were received as information.

  • Option 1 – reduce the inflation and growth increase allocated to the Building Better Roads Program (reduction of 0.8% in each of the years 2020 and 2021); and
  • Option 2 – provision for civic services subsidized fee for service (reduction of 0.03% in 2020)

“In the months to come as we lead up to the release of our first preliminary Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget, City Council will consider other information they’ve requested, along with additional options on capital projects, Asset Management Plans, service level changes and options to help accelerate achieving City Council’s strategic priorities,” adds Tarasoff.

The Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget will provide greater certainty for residents about the future direction of property taxes, better alignment of the City’s longer-term goals, and improved financial stability, transparency and accountability.

City Council will set the final budget and associated municipal property tax rate through the 2020/2021 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget Deliberations at the end of November 2019.

For more information on the City’s Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget, visit