2017 YEG Operating Budget - Focusing on Key Priorities

Today, Council approved the lowest tax increase in 10 years, at 2.85%

The approved 2016-2018 Operating Budget increase is made up of the following:

  • .70 per cent for base budget to maintain programs and services
  • 1.5 per cent for the Neighbourhood Renewal program
  • 0.6 per cent for the Valley Line LRT

In 2015, when the city announced the three-year operating budget, the estimated tax increase for 2017 was projected to be 3.4%. This year, Administration proposed a conservative 3.1% increase. However, through budget deliberations Council further reduced and approved the increase at 2.85%. At a cost of $6.61 per day, the proposed budget maintains all City services, programs, and infrastructure that support the 899,477 people within our growing city.

The decrease was achieved through “Council’s 2% Initiative”, which included a subset of 122 initiatives that resulted in $34.1 million in savings--$6.1 million above the projected savings for 2017. With many Edmontonians experiencing tough economic times, this is welcoming news. And despite the slow growth in Edmonton’s economy, our population has increased by 21,521 people; up from 877,926 in 2014.  

As a rapidly growing City, it's simply not feasible to expect a 0% increase--even in these current economic conditions. In the 1990's, City Council agreed to a 0% increase and to this day, we are still catching up on the deferred maintenance.

Each year, I use a benchmark calculation to formulate an approximate rate by which taxes increase. The calculation includes factors such as, population growth and rate of inflation to help determine a possible increase of the city’s taxes. For example: 2% Population Growth + 1.5% Rate of Inflation = 3.5% Increase 

It is important that we continue to invest in our growing city by improving infrastructure and adding services, while practicing sound financial judgment. This can be achieved by focusing on key priorities: Valley Line LRTNeighbourhood Renewal, and maintaining current Service Packages. By investing in our City, we not only strengthen our economic future, we also ensure a high quality of life for Edmontonians.  

For more information on the City’s budgeting process, I encourage you to check out yegcitybudget.ca.Or, as always, feel free to contact me atmichael.walters@edmonton.ca or (780) 496-8132.

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  • commented 2017-06-27 21:25:37 -0600
    The challenge of population growth is the cost to service it. The revenues not only lag behind the need for services they actually never keep up. I had in the past used the inflation + population growth – new revenues, but the reality is that residential assessment doesn’t generate the revenues necessary to service those new neighbourhoods as most of our growth is still suburban. Additionally we have focused on increasing our non residential assessment base which is a net gain to our budget. I appreciate the comment.
  • commented 2016-12-15 14:03:33 -0700
    Your “benchmark calculation” shows a lack of understanding of fiscal budgeting. Consider property taxes are just adjusted for inflation, you would expect property tax to remain a relatively constant % of cost compared to other household expenses. If you continually add population growth, property tax will continue to rise exponentially as a % of overall household expenses. UNSUSTAINABLE! Fact is property taxes are based on population and an increase in population also contributes to increased revenue. Granted there is a delay in increased revenue from population growth, however it’s unreasonable to consider a population growth adder each and every year.