2021-2025 Budget and Business Plan
The 2021 budget assumes that some level of COVID-19 restrictions will be in place for the entire year, with current service delivery levels and physical distancing guidelines. The 2022 and 2023 plans assume a recovery as vaccines and better treatments become available, however the assumption is there is still some physical distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols that may continue.
Council approved a $57.3M operating and $13.8M capital budget for 2021, with a focus on prioritizing the safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing maintenance and accessibility of outdoor amenity space, and reducing our community impact on climate change. Other priorities include proceeding with a near carbon neutral construction plan for a new fire hall, managing traffic and parking congestion, and leading a community conversation on a sustainable vision for tourism in Canmore.
The result is a 4.5% municipal property tax increase for 2021. To put the budget in context, for every $100,000 of assessed value of a residential unit, the resulting municipal property tax would increase by ~$10/year (for a residential property assessed at $700,000 there would be an increase of ~$69/year).
There are many uncontrollable impacts to the budget and business plan. Even before considering the financial impacts of COVID-19, there are increased expenses for the RCMP contract, insurance, snow removal, debt servicing for the Cougar Creek Debris Retention Structure, as well as capital and reserve fund contributions. The most significant pressure on the operating budget is the reduced revenues in the Recreation Department due to COVID-19. Facility maintenance with COVID-19 safety protocols have also considerably increased required expenses. A COVID-19 contingency has been created to include all incremental costs and is funded by the Tax Stabilization Reserve, so as not to further increase taxes in 2021.
This budget also focuses on initiatives that move us towards our goal of minimizing our impact on climate change by reducing our carbon footprint and our waste generation. It contains $1,115,000 in net new sustainability capital projects, as well as many operational projects.
The remainder of the budget mostly consists of the costs to provide existing services. The cost of doing business has increased. Proper maintenance of assets, replacement of items at the end of their lifecycle, and inflationary adjustments have all contributed to increased costs. Administration has prepared detailed operating and capital budgets for 2021, and this is part of the four-year operating plan, and a six-year capital plan.
The operating budget is financed by a variety of sources including property taxes, grants, user fees, and development cost charges. The operating budget includes all revenue and expenditures for the municipality. The capital budget is financed by various reserves, property taxes, grants, and debt.
Town Council created a four year (2019-2022 inclusive) strategic plan that identifies the vision, goals, and strategic priorities for the Town of Canmore. This plan continues to be reflected in the 2019/2020 budgets and identifies how the five current strategic priorities of Council will be implemented.
Budgeting for 2022, 2023, and 2024
in June of 2021, the Finance Committee directed administration to prepare the preliminary operating and capital budgets for 2022 that do not exceed a 5% tax increase over the 2021 budget, and prepare preliminary operating budget plans for 2023 and 2024 that do not exceed a 5% tax increase in each year. The 5% tax increase cap recommendation would allow for inflation with some flexibility for other changes related to strategic priorities or other changes in service levels. The Calgary CPI average used for the purposes of COLA is anticipated to be around 1.5%. There were also significant increases in building construction price indexes in the first quarter of this year, which will impact the overall affordability of the capital program going into 2022. The three-year operating plan approved earlier this year for 2021-2023, included a proposed budget increase for 2022 at 9%, so reductions from the plan would be required to meet the 5% target.
For the 2022 budget cycle, the plan is for the newly elected Council to hold Finance Committee meetings in November, and approve the final budget in December.
A Service Level Review is proposed to occur in 2022 after the new 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 below:
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.