During the provincial budget announcement tomorrow, Red Deer City Council and administration will listen closely to determine impacts on Red Deerians, specifically related to funding changes, the carbon levy and municipal and community infrastructure.
Overall The City is concerned with changes in municipal funding and what this will mean for The City of Red Deer’s access to this much needed funding. The City is anxious about decreases in and the downloading of provincial responsibilities to municipalities resulting in local budget and, potentially, tax impacts.
“We are interested in how the provincial budget will affect The City of Red Deer and our ability to meet our local needs and priorities,” said Mayor Tara Veer, who will attend the provincial budget announcement in the legislature. “My hope is that budget 2016 ensures we can continue to deliver the quality of life Red Deerians desire and expect while minimizing the 2016 tax impact. This is critical at a time when many are already feeling the pressure of these difficult economic times.”
“The City of Red Deer continues to have concerns about the details of the carbon levy,” said Mayor Veer. “We expect the budget will provide clarity on how this new tax will impact municipalities financially and how it supports our local efforts towards community environmental sustainability.”
Depending on the details of the provincial budget and climate change legislation, the carbon levy could have a significant financial impact on municipalities. Preliminary analysis, depending on how it is charged, estimates costs of several million dollars to The City of Red Deer which may result in a tax increase or impact the ability to finance local priorities.
During the Speech from the Throne in March, the Province committed to investing $34 billion over five years towards infrastructure.
“We are hopeful much of this funding will go to community infrastructure needs. The City of Red Deer has advocated for the QE II interchange project at Gaetz Avenue and 19 Street, the Northland Drive construction and river bridge, and local social infrastructure like affordable housing and other social supports to help Red Deerians in these challenging times,” said mayor Veer. “There are also a number of projects important to the community that we are interested in, specifically the expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital, polytechnic university status for RDC and a new courthouse.”
Regardless of the content of the provincial budget, The City of Red Deer remains committed to building towards the vision and potential of our community and region while navigating responsibly through our current economic reality.
“One of the best roles government can play in this economic climate is to provide stability to business, residents and communities,” said Mayor Veer. “Earlier this year, The City built our budgets and plans for 2016 and beyond based on the reality that community building is province building. We hope the provincial budget reflects that thinking as well.”
For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
Communications & Strategic Planning