City council passes tax mill rate bylaw

Council is challenging city staffers to achieve the same operating budget rates from 2022.

Chestermere City Council has challenged city administration to meet last year’s operating budget target for 2023, in the tax mill rate bylaw.

The city’s budget is $52.4 million, with $35.5 million in revenue, resulting in $16.8 million in residential taxes.

“We’re looking at a 3.609 mill rate for 2023, that accomplishes and meets our targets for the same budget we had last year,” Mayor Jeff Colvin said during the May 30 council meeting. “It’s a big change for Chestermere, being able to start to save money and reduce taxes, that’s a big accomplishment, but it comes forward with the hard work that our staff has done and been able to accomplish.”

In 2022, the city’s operating and capital budget was $52.4 million, with a $6.2 million surplus, resulting in a $46.1 million budget.

“Council identified for 2023 that our budget target is $46.1 million, not to be too aggressive, that council and administration can meet that again for 2023, council has kept the surplus in the budget,” Colvin said.

“We’re still having a budget of $52.4 million, and council is keeping the $6.2 million in a surplus,” he added. “We want to make sure we’re stepping forward in the most prudent financial matter that we can.”

If city staffers can achieve the $46.1 million budget, the city will have a new base tax level.

However, if city administration requires additional funding, they must go to council to utilize the surplus.

“If we’re able to achieve the same goals we achieved in 2022, council will end up with approximately $12.4 million in that new savings account at the end of 2023,” Colvin said. “We’re giving a bit of a challenge to administration to attempt to achieve those rates.”

The operating budget rates include the efficiency of how the city is operated, growth, goals, and programs.

“It’s not by any means easy. We’re trying to identify efficiencies in our departments, and with that, our staff are performing exceptionally,” Colvin said. “This is a learning curve for the city as we’re restructuring, we’re trying to make ourselves in the best position possible so we can have a starting point that we can continue forward in a more efficient manner.”

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