On Tuesday, December 4, Chestermere City Council dropped the 2019 municipal tax rate by 2%.
“Council heard loud and clear that the community was looking for relief from municipal taxes,” says Chestermere Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “We have worked hard to find savings and are pleased to bring that relief.”
The efforts to cut taxes began last January when the City’s newly elected Council set a Strategic Plan that included a goal to ‘ensure responsible City spending to mitigate tax increases’.
In addition, the City conducted budget consultation in the summer of 2018 and asked residents how they would ‘slice the budget pie’. Most respondents indicated that they would like to see reductions in the budgets of most service areas.
When the City’s brand new Chief Administrative Officer, Bernie Morton, began work in the summer of 2018, he was determined to do what it took to achieve those goals.
“As part of this budget, we took into consideration ways we could be more effective, more efficient and more outcome focused,” says Morton. “There have been some difficult decisions we had to make but the result is a budget that provides better value for residents’ tax dollars.”
Morton explains that the reduction was achieved primarily through improved efficiencies, personnel adjustments and realigned projects.
While savings and efficiencies were found, Mayor Chalmers is pleased to let residents know that it doesn’t mean that services will be reduced.
“After we set our Strategic Plan, we took a fresh look at what we are doing to ensure all those items aligned with our Strategic Plan. With that in mind, we were able to find efficiencies and still progress our priorities,” says Mayor Chalmers.
The projects and priorities included in the 2019 budget include:
- Completion of Township Road 240
- Digital signs to assist with speed reduction
- Improvement of the City’s Asset Management System
- Lakefront Parks Project Extension
- Pavement Rehabilitation of West Chester Boulevard
- Protective Services equipment upgrade
- Records Management Improvements
- Replacement of Fire Engine 116
- Security Upgrade at Public Works
- Storage Facility Improvements (to improve life of equipment)
- Trails / Active Transportation Plan
- Transit Feasibility Study
- Upgrade of Chestermere Boulevard to Urban 2-Lane
- Upgrades to the Off-Leash Park
For more information including the full financial details, capital plan and breakdown by service area, visit www.chestermere.ca/budget.