2022-2026 Budget and Business Plan
The 2022 budget focuses on advancing current Council priorities including the new fire hall and managing congestion, while planning for the future including a potential passenger rail service between Calgary and Banff, affordable housing, and maintaining the Town Centre as the heart of our community and a space that brings people together.
As caretakers of the community, the Town of Canmore budgets to fund a variety of programs and services that are either legislated, essential, or approved by Council such as:
- services and practices to keep the community safe
- initiatives that improve sustainability
- outdoor spaces and indoor facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy
- a comprehensive transportation network of streets, roads, bridges, sidewalks, pathways, parking lots, and transit that move us through town
- services that provide recreation opportunities, business supports, special events, social supports, neighbourhood connections, and affordability support services
- waste, recycling, and organics collection, water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and collection, storm water management, all part of the utility rates
- all of the physical and virtual infrastructure as well as the human resources required to deliver these benefits.
86% of the increases to the 2022 budget are uncontrollable expenses due to inflation, pre-existing contracts and priorities, and growth-related expenses. There are increases in the RCMP contract (representing 2% of the overall 5.1% increase, before a draw from the tax stabilization reserve to partially mitigate impact), increased fire staffing, repairs and maintenance, re-introduction of critical services reduced during COVID-19, and priority staffing additions. Town of Canmore policies recommend increases for cost of living related to human resource costs, as well as capital and reserve fund contributions. The full extent of these increases was not able to be included within the budget direction provided. Fortunately, the monetary cost of COVID-19 is not projected to impact the budget to the same extent as in previous years, with recreation revenues slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, and special events returning for the community’s enjoyment.
The Town of Canmore’s paid parking program is extending to the Town Centre in 2022; revenues will offset the costs of the program, help fund fare-free transit (including an improved frequency of fare-free local transit services), and offset the cost of local improvements in our paid parking areas. As well, another temporary implementation of a pedestrian-only Main Street in the summer will see enhancements to the space until the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan is completed. The Palliser area can contribute to providing affordable housing in the future, and developing the Palliser Area Structure Plan will help make that possible.
Canmore is sustainable only if both its capital infrastructure assets and its financial assets can be maintained over the long term. Asset management is important to calculate the costs to maintain and replace current assets, and the level of service required to modify or add future assets. The Town of Canmore has a policy to establish reserve funds to ensure the long-term financial stability and flexibility of the Town of Canmore, to position it to respond to varying economic conditions and changes affecting its financial position, and to ensure the organization has the ability to continuously carry out its responsibilities. Although the Art Trust contribution was unfunded (if the policy had been met $103,000 would have been contributed), remaining reserve contributions were increased in the 2022 budget by $228K (without utilities). Full pre-pandemic levels of contributions, particularly with policy recommended increases, were not possible within the budget direction, and so will be gradually phased in over the next three years.
The capital budget outlines what assets need rehabilitating and what new infrastructure is planned for the five-year horizon. Funding sources such as grants, franchise fees, capital reserves, or debenture financing are also detailed. Funded capital expenditures total $26.3M for 2022 with a five-year funded plan total of $120.7M. The average annual capital envelope used over the five years is $24.1M. Overall, there are 49 individual funded projects identified in 2022. Significant projects for 2022 include: New Fire Hall Construction $14.7M, Bow River West Pathway – Phase 1 $1.5M, Old Canmore Road – Water Upgrade $1M, Street and Drainage Rehabilitation $1M, and TSMVPL Litigation $750K.
Canmore has a healthy Tax Stabilization Reserve to mitigate tax rate increases in cases of an emergent, non-recurring nature. It has been built over time from unbudgeted sources of revenue. Draws of $600,000 from the Tax Stabilization Reserve help offset the increases in costs of the RCMP contract and staffing increases in fire services.
Much of the budget consists of the costs to provide status quo services. Some important initiatives were not brought forward, as they could not be funded within the direction given by Council. This budget reflects the true cost of delivering existing services to the community. As the community grows, we need to determine sustainable service levels that can be reasonably achieved within the tax base. A service level review process will begin in 2022 to identify the highest priority areas and resources required to deliver those services and manage expectations.
Plans for 2023 and 2024 Operating Budgets
The 2023 and 2024 operating plans include ongoing increases in fire staffing and RCMP costs, as well as debt repayments for the new fire hall. Increases to the cost of living are estimated to be 3%, based on recent trends in inflation. Reserve transfers are budgeted to slightly increase, including the return of the contribution to the Art Trust reserve. Recreation revenues are also expected to continue to increase as restrictions ease post-pandemic. The projected tax increase, net of growth, is 6.2% in 2023 and 5.8% in 2024.
For the 2023 budget cycle, the plan is for Council to hold Finance Committee meetings in November 2022, and approve the final budget in December.
A Service Level Review is proposed to occur in 2022 after Council approves their 2023-2026 strategic plan. This Service Level Review will influence the 2023 budget and beyond.
Download the Complete Budget and Business Plan
pdf 2020 Budget Amendments (1.77 MB) (does not reflect subsequent changes made in 2020 due to COVID-19 and reductions for a 0% tax increase)
Long Term Financial Strategy
On August 22, 2017 the Town’s Finance Committee adopted a Long Term Financial Strategy, a document that analyzes the Town’s present capital asset funding financial position and develops strategies and actions to address the calculated funding gap that exists between what is contained in Town planning documents and current financial resources. The Long term Financial Strategy provides guidance for preparing future capital project budgets.
Each year the Town of Canmore financial statements are audited and filed with the Province of Alberta per legislative requirements. Both consolidated and unconsolidated statements are available below.
Consolidated: Statements include the financial information for board operated entities wholly funded by the Town of Canmore (e.g. Canmore Public Library and Canmore Community Housing Corporation (CCHC)).
Non-Consolidated: Include Town of Canmore finances without board operated entities wholly funded by the Town of Canmore.