Council sets the operating and capital budgets annually. In 2016, for the first time, the Town of Canmore has prepared a two year budget for the 2017/2018 fiscal years. The 2017-2018 budgets were approved by council on December 6th.
Why prepare a two year budget?
Municipalities have rules for many of the things they do and these rules are set out by the Province in Alberta’s Municipal Government Act. Upcoming changes to this legislation will require municipalities to prepare 3 year operating and 5 year capital budgets and the requirement to do so will also become a condition for some grant money. It is better to try multi-year budgeting to see how it would best work before we are required to do it.
In an election year newly elected Councillor’s are sworn in at the end of October and within a few days they have traditionally been whisked off to budget meetings where they are expected to approve multi-million dollar budgets. By having a budget already approved, it gives the new Council time to get up to speed, meet to develop their strategic plan and the priorities for their term, and then budgets that reflect this can be developed for consideration.
It is good financial management to look down the road and plan for the future, so budgeting for longer than one year is a good practice.
What about the election this year?
Any Council can make any decision it is legally entitled to make and the decisions of a previous Council do not limit the decisions a future Council can make. Some exceptions are long term contracts.
As happens with your own budgets, sometimes things happen that were not anticipated or budgeted for. In these cases you take a look at what’s budgeted and make some changes to deal with what’s happened. This is the same with municipal budgets; the new Council can make changes to the budget any time they want; it is not written in stone.
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. The capital budget outlines the planned improvements to infrastructure or capital projects for the next 5 years.
In 2015 Town Council worked to create a three year (2016-2018 inclusive) strategic plan that identifies the vision, goals, and strategic priorities for the Town of Canmore. This implementation plan continues to be reflected in the 2017/2018 budgets and identifies how the seven strategic priorities of Council will be implemented in the upcoming years.
Generally the priorities are identified in no particular order, with the exception of Priority #1, which is to increase affordable housing stock.
- Increase affordable housing stock
- Address traffic congestion and parking in downtown core
- Establish and meet defined targets for reserves and capital contributions
- Complete flood mitigation projects
- Develop and implement a social development strategy
- Implement local transit
- Implement an asset management strategy
Having an impact on the overall affordability of our community is the main priority of the Town of Canmore.
OPERATING VS. CAPITAL BUDGETS
Operating Budget: The Operating Budget ensures funds are in place for the delivery of operating programs.
2017 Operating Budget: Visual Summary
2018 Operating Budget: Visual Summary
Capital Budget: Capital assets are assets that 1) are used in operations and 2) have an initial useful life in excess of one year. Categories include land, buildings, building improvements, vehicles, machinery, equipment, works of art, and infrastructure. Asset cost includes all amounts that are directly attributable to the acquisition, construction, development or betterment of the asset. The budget and multi-year plan also include studies, plans and other projects that may be considered as maintenance of existing capital infrastructure.
2017 Capital Budgets: Visual Summary
2018 Capital Budgets: Visual Summary
Download the complete Budget and Business Plan below:
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 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 (i.e. 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.