November 12, 2020
The City has released a set of reports that will form the basis of Council’s 2021 budget discussions starting next week.
The reports include Q3 financial updates and proposed adjustments to the 2020 operating and capital budgets. City Administration proposes a zero per cent tax levy increase down from the previously approved increase of 3.2 per cent. This would be the lowest tax increase since 1997, which was also zero per cent.
In order to hold the budget at current levels, reductions of $64 million are necessary. City Administration proposes $56.5 million in program changes, efficiencies, facility closures and other reductions and $7.5 million in other financial strategies.
“We recognize the economic impact that the pandemic has had on Edmontonians, and we’re listening,” said Adam Laughlin, Interim City Manager. “These proposed amendments represent our commitment to continue building our city while finding savings to protect our financial position.”
City Council approved the 2019-2022 Operating Budget in 2018. Each year they revisit the budget and make adjustments as needed to account for new developments or external economic factors.
“Our careful financial management has ensured that we have maintained a secure financial footing despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary Persson, Chief Financial Officer for the City of Edmonton. “Although any service reduction will be felt in the community, we worked to limit these effects. We know that Edmontonians expect sound financial management. We have looked for ways to balance our spending to ensure current and long-term financial sustainability to support the ongoing priorities of Council.”
Edmontonians can view the reports with the City’s proposed changes at edmonton.ca/meetings
. Council discussions could start as early as November 16, pending scheduling of other items. A public hearing on the budget will be held December 3. A COVID-19 2021 Financial Update and Funding Strategy report will be discussed on December 7, and Council will deliberate on the budget adjustments December 9 and 11. Impacts of these decisions to programs and services will take effect in the new year.
Edmontonians are encouraged to make their voices heard by registering for the non-statutory public hearing on December 3 by calling the City Clerk at 780-496-8178 or online at edmonton.ca/meetings
. Edmontonians can also join the budget conversation at yegcitybudget.ca