Important new investments in transit, active mobility, social supports, poverty reduction, housing initiatives, arts & culture funding, and heritage preservation have been included in amendments to the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets.
The current proposed budget will have the average Calgary home, worth around $550,000, see approximately $9.70 added to their monthly property tax bill. That $9.70 per month covers the cost of inflation and maintains existing service levels.
Council heard 125 members of the public and 28 civic partners speak at the public hearing, in addition to the extensive feedback received through Administration's public consultations.
Responding to the vision Calgarians demanded, Council identified priorities that required enhanced operational funding.
Drawing from anticipated surpluses and reserves, one-time operating funds were approved. Highlights include:
- $3 million to Calgary Transit to maintain transit fees at 2022 levels in 2023
- $3 million to Calgary Transit to eliminate fares for children 12 and under, and to lower the cost of weekend family passes
$40 million for Calgary's Always Available for All Ages and Abilities (5A) Network:
- $20 million from one-time anticipated 2022 favourable variance
- $20 million drawn from the Calgary Parking Authority Long Term Investment Reserve
Social Supports & Poverty Reduction:
- $19 million over 2023-2026 to the Mental Health & Addictions Strategy to maintain community organization programming, as well as 2-year seed funding to activate a real-time integrated mental health and addictions centre (a partnership with the Calgary Police Service and community agencies)
- $2 million to Family & Community Support Services to offset cost increases associated with population and inflation
- $2 million for Vibrant Communities Calgary
- $12 million towards non-profit grants, leveraging anticipated capital through programs like the Rapid Housing Initiative & Housing Accelerator
- $3 million to the Closer to Home Indigenous-focused family & community hub
Arts & Culture:
- $900,000 to Contemporary Calgary
- $250,000 to Arts & Culture to support Tourism Calgary in positioning Calgary as a global destination
- $4 million for the Calgary Arts Development Authority
- $2 million over 2023-2026 to expand the Non-Residential Heritage Conservation Grant Program, initiate the Residential Tax Heritage Incentive Program, and resource them both
- $1.8 million to Calgary Economic Development to support work around branding, reputation, hosting, and hospitality
- $4 million to Tourism Calgary to progress the work around branding, reputation, hosting and hospitality
- $1 million to the Federation of Calgary Communities
- $1.5 million Parks Foundation Calgary
- 1.5 million to Sport Calgary
- $2 million to Platform Calgary
- $10 million to Calgary Fire Department
Also approved was the establishment of a Council working group to revisit budget plans for 2024, 2025, and 2026 to ensure Council priorities are well represented— such as truth and reconciliation, the 5A Network, low income transit passes, improved transit frequency, affordable housing, mental health supports, and equity index maps.
Additional measures approved through the budget deliberations include:
- Drawing funds from the Real Estate Services Reserves as an investment for the Downtown Strategy for office-to-residential conversions
- Finding funding sources to resource post-secondary conversion downtown
- Engaging with the Canada Infrastructure Bank and provincial government to assist in funding:
- A one-station extension of the Blue Line North
- The “people mover” from the Calgary Airport to the Blue Line North
- Advancement of MAX 301 bus rapid transit
- Identify key performance indicators used by the Calgary Police Commission to satisfy Council’s expectations of an adequate and effective municipal police service, and report back to develop a revised set of expectations
- Engaging with the Province to compensate the Calgary Fire Department’s work acting as first responders to medical calls
My thanks to everyone who participated. This budget is an important step in demonstrating that Calgarians know what they are worth, and demand services that match this vision.