Why do we need more revenue?
Our grants from the Province and other sources have been reduced and future reductions are expected. Adding to this challenge is the drop-in facility and transit revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the delay in returning to full utilization in transit and other areas.
What happens if we don’t generate new revenue?
If we don’t find new sources of revenue, we will have to look at either increased taxes or reducing existing services and the extent to which we offer those services. This could include things like reduced ice and snow control services, reduced recreation programming, less funding to community groups supporting the social profit and business sectors, less advertising and public engagement spending, and deferring or discontinuing life cycle work such as curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs and replacement. These are not focus areas currently, just a cross-section of the wide range of services that could be potentially impacted. These and other services provided by the City contribute to the high quality of life for our community. Residents have told us they value these services through our biennial community satisfaction surveys.
Can’t we just cut spending?
Reducing spending further is an option, but it has trade-offs.
St. Albert has always strived to be diligent on the cost side, with operating expenses per capita and debt per capita below average for comparable communities, according to both Alberta Municipal Affairs and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The City of St. Albert has already undertaken a variety of additional measures to review and reduce City expenditures including, but not limited to:
- Conducted an Organizational Review in 2018
- Implemented Priority-Based Business Planning and Budgeting
- Eliminated a projected $14.5 million deficit during the pandemic.
In 2020/2021, Ernst & Young (EY) conducted an Operational and Fiscal review of St. Albert. EY had positive things to say about the City and how it is run, including the proactive steps taken to reduce expenses, streamline operations, and prioritize service delivery to the community. They also identified that:
“As the growth in traditional sources of revenue is not sufficient to keep up with the growth in expenditures from increased service demand, the City must look for opportunities to explore new revenue streams to ease financial pressures.”
The City is committed to continuing to look at the cost side of the fiscal equation, but the reality is that generating new revenue streams will be essential for the future if services and service levels are to remain the same.
Last edited: November 12, 2021