Chestermere City Council received the draft operating financial plan for 2021 and 2022 for information during the regular meeting of council on Dec. 17.
“We’ve approved the 2020 operating financial plan, which now become the budget, and we approved the five-year capital plan. The other items left are the 2021 and 2022 financial operating plan,” said the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Brenda Hewko.
“What we do know about financial plans is that all plans are subject to change, and it’s based on the best information available at the time,” she said.
City administration intends to have the level of services offered, and costs in place for the next budget cycle.
“In 2021 and 2022, as the numbers look right now, it looks like it could be about a five per cent property rate increases for both of the two years,” Hewko said.
“If we were to go back about a year and we look at our 2019 budget, at that time we were presenting about a 3.7 per cent tax rate increase that we know we had approved a two per cent tax reduction,” she said.
“This is the direction we’re heading in, but we know there’s going to be so much happening over the next year that it just gives us a direction, it’s not written in stone,” Hewko added.
“You said something that scares me, and that is possibly down the road in the next year we could be looking at a five per cent increase,” said Councillor Mel Foat.
The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Bernie Morton, said the draft operating financial plan is subject to change.
“The numbers we have right now plugged into the model and plugged into the plan, that’s what we’re looking at right now,” Morton said.
“As we’re showing right now, we’re trying to find as many efficiencies as we possibly can within the system,” he said.
The ultimate goal for the City of Chestermere is to run as efficiently as possible within the resources currently in place.
“Don’t fret, we’re OK, we still have more work to do on the budget. I feel good about where we’re at, and what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Morton said.
“We’re the only municipality at this stage who were able to cut taxes two successful years in a row,” he added. “That’s my commitment to council, is to have this organization as lean as it can be and functioning as optimally as it can be.”
Mayor Marshall Chalmers said last year council was in the same position.
“It’s a snapshot in time as to what that number is, and there is a lot of work to do,” he said.