Published on October 29, 2019
Preparing for Prosperity through Sound Fiscal Planning
City of St. Albert well positioned during time of restraint
On October 24, 2019, the Government of Alberta tabled its 2019-2020 Budget. Anticipating a fiscally responsible Provincial Budget, the City of St. Albert has taken proactive steps to align ourselves with the new direction of the Government of Alberta. However, this process has been a steady progression in St. Albert, starting with the current Council’s term of office in 2017.
St. Albert has kept our per capita expenses below average relative to comparable communities. As of late, we have taken steps to reduce costs and improve service delivery in a variety of areas. Beginning with the 2018 municipal budget, St. Albert strategically chose a 0.9 percent tax increase, considerably lower than inflation.
We rationalized the organizational structure in order to increase productivity, expedite decision-making and service-delivery, and to reallocate resources to front line service positions to better serve businesses and residents. We also moved to monthly e-billing, which will save the City over $100,000/year. We have one of the lowest business property tax rates and intend to further reduce the costs to companies that create jobs through our Green Tape 2.0 initiative.
The City offers best in class turnaround times for permits: development permits are issued within six business days, single family residential permits are approved in five business days and business licences are issued in one business day. This year, St. Albert’s proposed tax increase is also very conservative, with 1.5% committed to Repair Maintain Replace (RMR) plus only 0.9% committed to maintaining services.
“These are just some of ways St. Albert is making advances toward sustainability,” stated Chief Administrative Officer, Kevin Scoble. “Implementation of Priority Based Business Planning and Budgeting in 2021, will further advance our ability to enhance our efficiencies.”
While there is still considerably more information to come from the Government of Alberta, the current focus on St. Albert sustainability has positioned the City well to respond to changes within the Provincial Budget. The Government of Alberta’s 2019-2020 Budget provides the City with certainty to move forward in our financial planning for critical infrastructure projects, which is necessary for economic development and community sustainability.
“The Province’s emphasis on restraint is aligned with the City’s focus on sustainability and Council’s historical tendency to keep tax increases lower than inflation,” outlined Mayor Cathy Heron. “The City of St. Albert is committed to maintaining and improving its long-term sustainability and plans to work with the Government of Alberta to drive efficiencies and reduce red tape to ensure we are creating an environment to drive economic growth.”
Last edited: October 29, 2019