Published on October 20, 2020
Upcoming 2021 City Budget Process
2020 has been a year of struggles, change and challenges for many within our community. As a municipality, the City of St. Albert has had to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances in order to promote community safety and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The financial impacts of these adjustments have created a difficult position for the City’s budget. As such, the City is preparing for a budget designed to address known deficits and planning for a long recovery, both within the community and as an organization.
Through its response to the pandemic, some City services and facilities were suspended, and some service levels remain reduced. This has shifted the City’s financial position as cash flows and revenues were impacted. City Administration has managed the 2020 budget responsibly by reducing an estimated deficit from $14.5 M to a much more manageable $500,000. This reduction was achieved through a series of reallocation of resources, cost-saving initiatives, deferrals of projects, and changes in service levels as a result of COVID-19 closures, while at the same time maintaining core service-provision through the pandemic. There is still more work to be done.
The proposed 2021 budget being presented to City Council for consideration will be focused on change and transformation. City programs and services cannot continue in this new reality in the same way they have previously been delivered.
Programs and services include things like community events, classes or hours of operation for City facilities. Programs and services are how the City defines its offerings to the community. Service Levels are the extent to which the City provides those programs and services. The City’s Service Level Inventory provides more detail.
Our way forward will involve a commitment to minimize spending, maximize revenue, and focus on delivering those programs and services most valued to residents and businesses.
It is important to recognize that holding the line on taxes might involve reductions to programs and services, and/or the level to which those services are provided. To help inform these discussions, the City is undertaking an operational and fiscal review to ensure that the right services are provided at the right level in order to address the community’s needs.
Part of the annual budget process is to engage the community and receive input about the budget and the services that define the community. The City is using a new online platform, “Cultivate the Conversation,” to provide new opportunities for input and engagement. Check it out and participate at conversation.stalbert.ca until November 19, 2020. The Proposed 2021 Financial Plan and Budget will be presented to Council at the November 2, 2020 Council meeting. Visit budget.stalbert.ca for more information on the budget process.
In the meantime, watch this video message from Mayor Cathy Heron and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Scoble.
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Last edited: October 20, 2020