The 2024 budget for The City of Airdrie, as proposed by the administration is recommending that there be a tax increase for Airdrie households. The tax increase would be over $200.
"Assuming the deficit in the Proposed Budget is cleared with a tax increase of 9.7 per cent rather than a reduction in expenditures, the overall effect on the average household would be an increase to municipal taxes of about $203 per year. The utility rate increase of 4.7 per cent has also assumed budget figures will be approved at Administration proposed rates," city documents stated.
A breakdown of the tax increase is listed as the following:
- Tax increase required to maintain municipal services 6.4 per cent
- Tax increase required for capital investments 3.2 per cent - Capital investments include funds set aside for the addition, and eventual replacement, of City assets such as buildings, roads, bridges, water, sewer and storm systems, machinery, equipment and vehicles
While the Council Budget Committee deliberations began on Tuesday and will continue on Thursday, the city's documents stipulate that the city administration is proposing an operating budget of $207,372,833 and a capital budget of $116,518,910.
"To maintain existing service levels, manage fiscal affordability and sustainability and advance Council Focus Areas and Capital Projects, an additional $7.3 million is required to balance the budget."
The population growth was noted as part of the increased demand for services, and subsequently an increase in taxes to meet the service demands.
"From 2024 to 2026, households should plan for increases of approximately $203, $289, and $366 annually."
A breakdown of the 2024-2026 Operating Budget by the Directorate, illustrates that Community Growth and Protective Services is the largest budget expenditure. The total sum of expenditures for all directorates equals a $7.2 million deficit, however, because The City must balance the budget, Airdrie's city council will have to decide, 'whether the remaining $7.3MM deficit will be funded by a property tax increase of 9.7 per cent or whether expenditures in the other Directorate lines here will be cut.'
"Likely, it will be a combination of a tax increase and expenditure cuts. If expenditures are cut, service levels and Council Focus Areas will need to be revisited and re-prioritized."
However, the budget documents also give a glimpse of how Airdrie compares to other municipalities, and according to the proposed budget, Airdrie is seen as an anomaly.
"...Spending 40 per cent less per capita than the rest of the mid to large sized cities. This shows Airdrie is more in line with the smallest community at the top of the chart and not offering the amenities and services that are typical for this population level."
Airdrie also spends the least on protective services, transportation, and recreation.
"While recognizing the fact that services within each community are not provided at identical levels, the chart does demonstrate the significant disparity between cities and shows clear signs of where Airdrie could improve. Growth projections predict that Airdrie will reach a population of 100,000 by 2028. Granted, Council has the power to put in place or deny services to the community, one can safely assume that Airdrie will desire and need more services as offered within these other mid-sized cities."
Airdrie City Council will be deliberating upon the budget in the coming weeks about the ultimate figures. The proposed tax increase for Airdrie residents is in line with other cities and towns that neighbour Airdrie. Calgary's budget is also proposing tax increases for Calgary households, while Cochrane's town council has also proposed taxes to go up.
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