A new Red Deer courthouse was announced during the provincial budget yesterday, acknowledging the ever increasing population Red Deer’s courthouse serves and demands on the judicial system. The City is still working through the budget details to determine how it will impact citizens, businesses and our community as a whole.
“The courthouse is good news for our community,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Community safety is a priority for citizens in Red Deer, and a new courthouse helps ensure more local charges are upheld, which is an important part of The City’s enforcement and community safety efforts.”
The province’s capital budget is $9.2 billion with an investment of $97 million, over four years, for the new courthouse.
“The City will engage in further discussions with the Province in the coming weeks about the courthouse details, including the municipal land we’ve been holding in anticipation of this announcement,” added Mayor Veer.
The province kept their commitment with both capital and operating Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding streams remaining fairly consistent and Red Deer’s allocation being $23.7 million.
“It is our job as local government to do what we can to realize stability for businesses, residents and communities, and with MSI funding remaining relatively stable, The City can continue moving forward with local infrastructure projects such as roadway improvements and facility development in our community,” said City Manager Craig Curtis. “While we do not yet know how this funding will be funnelled into our city, we remain hopeful that it will assist us in meeting the needs of our growing community.”
The province also referenced a continued investment in small and medium size enterprises. “We welcome this continued investment in local and community entrepreneurship as it aligns with our overall vision for Red Deer and a continued focus on economic development in our city,” said Mayor Veer
There were no announcements specifically related to funding for social infrastructure, such as affordable housing and other social supports needed in Red Deer and central Alberta; however, the budget for FCSS, which increased last year, has remained constant.
In the coming weeks, The City will analyze the impacts of the education requisition for Red Deer and what this means for citizen’s property tax bill. The education requisition will be combined with the approved municipal operating budget when City Council considers the tax rate bylaw in April. Tax notices will then be mailed out in May.
The carbon levy remains an issue for The City because of its impact on the operating budget, but the programs referenced yesterday could help bring some of this money back to Red Deer.
“We await further details on potential energy-efficiency programs before we can fully understand how businesses, citizens and municipalities can apply. The City remains committed to environmental sustainability and we continue to discuss our position on revenue neutrality with the Government of Alberta and our municipal colleagues across the province,” said Mayor Veer.
Red Deer has identified many other community priorities not addressed in this budget such as Polytechnic University status for RDC, Red Deer Regional Hospital growth needs and local social infrastructure, such as affordable housing and other social supports. In the past few years, we have had several advocacy successes including the Highway 2 interchange, Red Deer Airport expansion, and now a new courthouse. We look forward to success in these additional community needs as we continue to work with the Government of Alberta.
Provincial and federal budget decisions affect the daily lives of Red Deerians. As the details of programs from the provincial budget are announced there may be other impacts to the community and organization. We will address these as they arise. On March 22, Red Deer City Council and administration will watch for infrastructure funding and affordable housing investment in the federal budget release to determine further impacts on and opportunities for Red Deer.
For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer