Edmonton City Council passed the Supplemental Operating Budget Adjustment for 2018, approving a property tax increase of 3.2 per cent, or $77 a year for the average household tax assessment with an assessed value of $397,000.2018 Supplementary Operating Budget Adjustment Municipal residential property tax increase for 2018 is 3.2%, up from 2.8% in 2017 but down from what was predicted in the latest budget adjustment.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said, “I’m pleased that Council unanimously passed a budget that supports both commitments to existing services and neighbourhood renewal as well as future urban planning and economic development.After years of having portions of tax increases go towards neighbourhood renewal to catch up with the need to invest in our aging infrastructure, I am confident that future year tax increases will be in line with inflation.”
The proposed property tax increase breaks down as follows:
- 0.6% to maintain and add new services (up from 1% in 2016)
- 0.9% for growth in infrastructure and services
- 1.4% for Neighbourhood Renewal
- 0.6% for Valley Line LRT
- 1.0% for Edmonton Police Services.
- 1.3% decrease for EPCOR dividend
- The 2018 property tax increase was originally approved to be 5%.
The City’s proposed operating budget adjustment of 3.6 per cent was reduced to 3.2 per cent. The reduction comes mainly from Council’s 2% initiative started in 2014/2015 and the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) one per cent decrease in employer contribution rates.
After 10 years of funding through property-tax increases, the Neighbourhood Renewal program will be fully funded by the end of 2018 and no longer require property taxes for the current program with more than 140 full neighbourhood enhancements and another 132 localized neighbourhood road renewal improvements completed. This key program, the first of its kind in Canada, repairs roads, sidewalks and streetlights in Edmonton’s neighbourhoods.
Council approved $12.2 million in new initiatives as part of the Fall 2017 adjustments, including the Health City and Turf Maintenance initiatives. First announced in the Mayor’s 2016 State of the City address, Health City is a strategy that sets Edmonton on the path to become a leader in health care innovation. The Turf Maintenance initiative ensures the City uses the latest technology to enhance the quality of Edmonton’s 4,100 hectares of greenspace while respecting the environment.
Employees identified $47.5 million in savings through the 2% initiative for the 2018 budget, nearly $15 million more than in 2017. Council used $9.6 million of those savings to reduce the base budget, reinvested a further $27.9 million into existing programs and services, and reallocated the remaining $10 million to areas of greater priority.
This $47.5 million savings include 35.2 vacant full-time equivalent positions permanently removed from the budget. As well, for the second year in a row, management will not receive cost-of-living increases. This will save $4.7 million. When Council’s 2% is combined with Administration’s efforts, the City has saved more than $300 million since 2010.
While the overall budgets are set at the beginning of the budget cycles, City Council can make supplemental adjustments each year. The annual operating budget of about $2.7 billion maintains the services, programs and infrastructure that support Edmontonians.
Today, Council also approved the $1.4 billion capital budget for 2018 projects that includes new fire stations, upgrading libraries, a police division and transit garage, and other infrastructure.